The disappointing news is coming through to Tottenham. England fans have received a major setback with midfielder James Maddison being forced to withdraw from the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers owing to an injury.
All of this happened in the recent Spurs defeat to Chelsea. The game ended 4-1 in favor of Chelsea, as the Blues made a strong statement that they are not bowing down, but it also cost England the likes of James Maddison. The school night game on Monday was a sell-out, as recorded on reseller platforms such as Seatsnet, with Chelsea defeating the last undefeated side in the league.
Madison had an early substitution in the first-half stoppage time, and it looks like his ankle injury isn’t going away. Since joining Tottenham from Leicester City in June, Maddison has contributed significantly, becoming vital to Ange Postegeclou’s gameplay.
He has contributed with three goals and five assists in just 11 Premier League appearances.
The Maddison injury complicates the situation for Tottenham initially and then for England. While the Spurs are now out of options in the midfield, England manager Gareth Southgate will need to find a replacement for Maddison.
Yet, Maddison has time to recover for the finals in Germany, as they are scheduled for 2024. But the real question would be if manager Southgate would want to have Maddison back or if his position gets taken by someone better.
Callum Wilson called for England dutie
In another surprise move, Southgate has brought in Newcastle striker Callum Wilson back for the final Euro qualifiers after demonstrating fine form in the Champions League and the Premier League.
Despite a hamstring injury against Dortmund, the inclusion of Wilson highlights the significance of Southgate’s plans.
In the meantime, injured James Maddison and Bukayo Saka were also named in the squad. Having already secured qualification for the Euro 2024 tournament, England is set to face Malta on November 17 and North Macedonia on November 20.
According to ticket retailer Seatsnet, both these matches will see an average turnout as England’s crucial games are now over, and they are experimenting with player options.
Surprisingly, former City and current Chelsea forward Raheem Sterling is omitted for another time despite his 82 caps and 20 goals for the country. The Aston Villa striker, Ollie Watkins, maintains his place after being included in the October international matches. Now, with Al-Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia, Jordan Henderson retains his spot.
For Sterling, it is a complicated tale between him and the manager, and it gets more complicated. Sterling has started 10 out of the 11 games for Chelsea, scoring on three occasions.
Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal and John Stones of City are also injured.
During the recent press conference, Southgate emphasized that there is still a 100% chance for players such as Sterling to return to the Euro squad as they prepare for silverware in Germany next year.
Despite Chelsea’s Reece James recently returning from a hamstring issue, the right-back requested to be omitted from the squad, feeling that he is not yet “quite ready” after his return to action.
For England, it would be about bringing in their best combination, and Southgate will need help getting the ideal mix next year in Germany. With several options and top-tier players for each position, it is a healthy headache for the manager.
Disappointed with John Stones
The England manager expressed his displeasure at hearing that John Stones was ruled out of the qualifiers due to a muscle injury.
He defined the absence of John Stones as a significant loss and would have loved to have his services in the upcoming games.
Stones recently returned to action after overcoming a hip injury but sustained a muscle injury during City’s Champions League victory against Young Boys. Pep Guardiola, City’s manager, anticipates that Stones will be sidelined for an extended period.
In the absence of Stones, Southgate is confident that Harry Maguire can fill in with the defender fighting back for this spot at Manchester United. It has been a rough start for Maguire in the season. Still, as of late, he is promising to bring in exceptional performances to show the fans and everyone around the world that he is a top-class material.
Maguire has made seven consecutive starts for United, scoring a goal in the Champions League match against Copenhagen. Southgate emphasized the importance of players gaining opportunities, especially in areas of the pitch where additional information about alternative options is needed.
Pepe Returns to the Euros
Earlier in March, the return of Cristiano Ronaldo in a Portugal jersey got the excitement back with the Euro qualifiers. Ronaldo, who was earlier sidelined and benched in the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, thought it was the end of the road for him, not the national jersey.
But the new coach thought otherwise and decided to bring the legendary striker to the team. And his gamble worked.
With back-to-back goals, Portugal has secured qualification for the big dance, and Cristiano Ronaldo is leading the side from the front. The Ronaldo effect worked on the Portuguese side, as they now see an overhaul of team chemistry and operate as a far better team than they did in the World Cup in Qatar.
Seatsnet shows increased demand for Euro tickets ever since the official announcement that Ronaldo would return to the side.
Alongside Ronaldo, defender Pepe and midfielder Matheus Nunes have been included in the Portugal squad for their upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers.
Portugal will play Liechtenstein and Iceland in their final games of the Euro qualifiers.
Cristiano Ronaldo is also part of the squad after Portugal secured their place in the championships with a 3-2 victory over Slovakia in October. Pepe, who was sidelined with an injury, returns to the squad,
Coach Roberto Martinez views these two matches as an opportunity to prepare the team for the tournament in Germany next summer. The side also has the likes of Sporting Braga striker Bruma.
Portugal leads Group J standings with eight points. They will face Liechtenstein on November 16 and Iceland on November 19.