'Exciting' Maddison and Mount give Southgate different options

By Sports Desk August 29, 2019

Gareth Southgate hopes Mason Mount and James Maddison will inject midfield creativity into his England squad.

Mount, 20, and Maddison have impressed for Chelsea and Leicester City during the opening weeks of this season and account for half of the uncapped players selected for the Three Lions' Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo, along with Manchester United right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Aston Villa centre-back Tyrone Mings.

Southgate helmed England's run to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the Nations League Finals, an impressive feat undermined by his side lacking some cutting edge at the business end of the competitions.

Mount - who has scored two in three matches for Chelsea on the back of impressive loan spells at Vitesse and Derby County - and Maddison featured in England's squad last October and the manager is now ready to unleash them on the international stage.

"I think Mason Mount's been one of the outstanding players in the league already this season," Southgate told reporters.

"We brought both of those guys in last October as much for the experience as anything. This time in particular, in Mason's case, as the younger one, he's in on merit, simple as that.

"He looks like he's threatening the goal every game he plays. I've watched him develop through our youth teams since he was 16 and he's been an outstanding player at every age group.

"He's not in on the back of three games at Chelsea. He's in on the back of a year in the Eredivisie, which was outstanding [and] a very successful year with Derby."

On 22-year-old Maddison, Southgate said: "I think he is improving as a player. He's a talent for sure. I think we have to work out where that fits into the way that we play.

"His numbers are impressive: goals and assists, outstanding set-play delivery. So, it's an interesting one for us to work more closely with.

"I think we have various strengths to our squad and we have obvious areas where we would like more experienced, developed players. But we have some exciting players that can come in and give us different options."

Mings, who is four years Maddison's senior, provides a left-sided option at centre-back and has been forced to come through the adversity of serious injury setbacks during his career.

"Tyrone's an interesting case as he entered the game a bit later and hasn't played as much as a centre-back," Southgate said.

"He had a big injury at Bournemouth, but I really like his leadership qualities.

"He's an outstanding athlete and I see a lot of potential and time for growth given the number of games he's played."

England are top of Group A after two games, having hammered five goals past each of Czech Republic and Montenegro in March.

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