Gareth Southgate is set to bring up 50 games in charge when England start their qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup.

San Marino are the visitors to Wembley Stadium for the milestone match, with Southgate the seventh to make it to a half-century at the helm for England.

His record so far is impressive: 29 wins, 10 draws and 10 defeats. He has also introduced some notable names to international football, many of which will form the backbone for the Three Lions in this year's delayed Euro 2020 tournament. 

In total, 42 players have made their senior debuts under the current boss. Plenty have made an impact, though some have fallen by the wayside since getting a taste of the senior team. 

HITS 

Jesse Lingard 

Lingard is the only member of the current England squad to have made his debut in Southgate's first match in charge, a 2-0 win over Malta in October 2016. The 28-year-old was a key member of the 2018 World Cup squad but has not featured for his country since the Nations League Finals nearly two years ago, having struggled for minutes at Manchester United. 

However, a January loan move to West Ham has paid off. No player has been involved in more goals – Lingard has scored five while also providing two assists – since his debut for the Hammers in February. Southgate – who advised the player to remain in the Premier League – has duly taken note, handing him a recall. 

Harry Maguire 

Maguire made his first England appearance against Lithuania in October 2017, when he was playing for Leicester City. The centre-back quickly established himself in Southgate's side for the World Cup semi-final run, while he has continued to be a mainstay since for the national side.  

Indeed, the Manchester United defender has missed just 14 possible outings for club and country since that maiden outing, starting 28 out of England's 30 matches. 

Kieran Trippier 

Paris was the setting for Trippier's bow, the full-back handed a chance in a 3-2 friendly defeat against France that saw him start alongside then-Tottenham team-mates Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane. 

Now playing his club football in Spain with Atletico Madrid, the 30-year-old continues to be a key attacking outlet for Southgate's teams. His total of 55 chances created since June 2017 is comfortably the highest for England, with striker Kane second on the list with 37. 

Jordan Pickford 

No player has both played and started more games for England under Southgate than Pickford, whose debut came in November 2017.  With 30 appearances, he sits one ahead of Maguire.

The Everton goalkeeper will not be involved as his manager celebrates his 50th match at the helm, though, as an abdominal muscle injury sees him missing for March's World Cup qualifiers. His absence also offers some of his rivals for the starting job an opportunity to stake their claim to be considered number one, with Pickford's form having been somewhat unconvincing for a while.

Declan Rice 

Rice's introduction to action for England came via a substitute appearance during a 5-0 win over the Czech Republic two years ago, replacing Alli just after the hour mark. 

The midfielder started all six of the Nations League qualifiers in 2020-21, including scoring his first international goal in a 4-0 triumph over Iceland. As for his club career, only Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole played more minutes in the Premier League for West Ham than Rice before the age of 22.


MISSES 

Nathaniel Chalobah 

Having represented England through the youth levels from under-16s upwards, Chalobah has so far played one solitary minute for the senior team, with his late, late opportunity coming against Spain in October 2018.  

Since then, the former Chelsea midfielder has started just 42 league games for Watford. This season he is plying his trade in the Championship, contributing three goals and an assist as the Hornets aim for an immediate return to the top flight. 

Dominic Solanke 

Solanke was part of the England squad that won the 2014 European Under-17 Championship, including scoring in a final against the Netherlands that was eventually settled by a penalty shoot-out. 

His senior debut came against Brazil in November 2017, but he has not been involved since. The striker signed for Bournemouth in January 2019 but failed to score in his first 38 Premier League appearances for the club, a barren run finally ended with a brace against Leicester in July 2020. He has been far more prolific in the Championship, getting 11 goals.

Lewis Cook 

Cook had success with England at youth level, captaining the squad that went all the way at the Under-20 World Cup. Solanke was also involved in that tournament, along with full internationals Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Dean Henderson - who was not first choice in goal - and Fikayo Tomori. 

The midfielder's maiden appearance for the senior side earned his grandfather a tidy windfall through a winning bet, but that outing as a substitute against Italy at Wembley remains his only cap. Since then, he has started 58 games for Bournemouth, scoring once. 

Jack Cork 

Another to be handed a late cameo by Southgate, Cork featured for all of four minutes in a friendly with Germany in November 2017. A young line-up that included new faces Pickford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek managed a 0-0 draw at Wembley. 

The midfielder – who was part of the Great Britain squad coached by Stuart Pearce at the 2012 Olympic Games in London – was a regular at Burnley before injuries hampered him in the current season, restricting him to just nine league outings for Sean Dyche's team in the 2020-21 campaign. 

Lewis Dunk 

Dunk has helped Brighton and Hove Albion rise from League One to the Premier League, with his performances earning him an England opportunity against the United States in November 2018. He started in a 3-0 win that saw Wayne Rooney make his 120th and final appearance for the Three Lions. 

The centre-back has not featured since, however, despite remaining a mainstay for his club. Since August 2018, Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (10) is the only defender to have scored more Premier League goals than Dunk's impressive total of nine.  

A second coming for Cristiano Ronaldo in the Spanish capital?

After a trophy-laden spell with Real Madrid, Ronaldo made the switch to Juventus.

But Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer is reportedly keen on a second stint at the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO EYEING MADRID REUNION

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to return to Real Madrid, according to the frontpage of Saturday's Diario AS.

Ronaldo's future with Juventus has been placed in doubt following the club's Champions League last-16 exit.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner, who left Madrid for Juve in 2018, has reportedly been in contact with Los Blancos for months.

 

ROUND-UP

- New Barcelona president Joan Laporta will offer superstar captain Lionel Messi a fresh contract in the coming weeks, reports Mundo Deportivo. The deal would include Messi – heavily tipped to join either Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City as a free agent at the end of the season – becoming a club ambassador after retirement. Laporta is also set to push ahead with moves for Bayern Munich's David Alaba, Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and City forward Sergio Aguero.

City lead the race to sign Haaland, according to the Daily Mail. Haaland is a player in demand, linked with Manchester United, Chelsea, LiverpoolJuve, PSG, Barca and Madrid.

Joao Felix is also an option at the Etihad Stadium. Cuatro claims the Atletico Madrid star is a target if Aguero leaves City.

- Le10Sport claims PSG remain in talks with Neymar over a four-year contract extension. A deal is believed to be some way off.

Harry Maguire wants United to sign an English-speaking defender, reports The Transfer Window Podcast. The Red Devils have been linked with Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane, Sevilla's Jules Kounde, RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly. But Brighton and Hove Albion's Ben White has emerged as a target.

- TMW Radio says Atletico could be set to make a move for Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz. The Spain international has been previously linked with Barca and Madrid.

Manchester United's players must demand success of each other in order to win their first silverware under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to captain Harry Maguire. 

Solskjaer's side advanced through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Tuesday, recording a 1-0 extra-time win over West Ham thanks to Scott McTominay's strike. 

It was the Scotland international's seventh goal in 30 appearances for the club this season - as many as he managed in 84 outings in previous campaigns. 

United also have a Europa League last-32 tie with Real Sociedad to come later this month and are five points behind leaders Manchester City in the Premier League, albeit having played a game more. 

After reaching the semi-finals of three competitions last season, as well as losing at the same stage to City in the EFL Cup last month, Maguire is determined to get over the line this time around. 

"Last season, it was disappointing to lose in the semi-finals like we did, but we've got to win trophies," he told MUTV. 

"We've got to demand that of each other. We do. We demand that we win trophies and it's vital the team starts winning trophies, for the club and the fans as well."

United's clean sheet against West Ham was their sixth in 10 matches and Maguire felt his side were good value for the win at Old Trafford. 

"We got there in the end and we deserved it," he said. "We felt comfortable on the pitch.  

"I felt in the first half we played with intensity and dominated the game, played the game in their half and had chances where we should be one, two, three up." 

Victory for United was the ideal response to Saturday's 3-3 league draw with Everton, a defensive display Maguire concedes cannot be repeated. 

"When we've conceded, we've conceded too many - when we concede one it seems to be two. It was three against Everton. That's not good enough for this club,” he said. 

"We were disappointed at the weekend. We felt we deserved the three points but we couldn't feel sorry for ourselves.  

"We knew we had to come here tonight and bounce back and get that momentum back on our side ready for Sunday [against West Brom]." 

The Red Devils have won their last nine FA Cup matches at Old Trafford - their joint-longest home winning run in the competition, equalling their nine in a row between 1908 and 1912. Maguire is hoping they will get to play at their own ground again when the draw for the last eight is made on Thursday. 

"Yes, of course. We love playing at this ground, and we've got to make it tough for people to come here and get results," he said.  

"We need to get better and we seem to have improved a little of late. But no, obviously, we want a home game. 

"We fancy our chances against anyone. We just need to look after ourselves, perform well and assure that we start winning trophies at this club."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the pain of the late collapse against Everton inspired Manchester United to edge past West Ham in the FA Cup fifth round.

Scott McTominay's goal, seven minutes into extra-time, earned United a 1-0 win over the Hammers in a match the Red Devils dominated, leading the shot count 17-3.

Three days earlier, Solskjaer's side let a 2-0 lead slip and then conceded a stoppage-time equaliser in a 3-3 draw against Everton that dented their Premier League title bid.

Following some soul-searching after dropping the precious points at Old Trafford, Solskjaer believes United responded in the best way possible to advance to the FA Cup quarter-finals.

"We needed to have a good result and a good feeling today because we were low after the Everton game. It's hard to take but they were really focused and did the job," Solskjaer said.

"Of course you want to win every game. We want to challenge and we want to go to the final. That's what we're here at Manchester United for.

"Sometimes you're lucky with draws in the cup – we haven't been that lucky – but obviously we move another step closer to the final."

Paul Pogba will miss "a few weeks" for Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed in concerning news ahead of a key month.

World Cup-winning midfielder Pogba returned to United's starting line-up to face Everton at the weekend but lasted just 39 minutes of the 3-3 draw.

The 27-year-old appeared to suffer a thigh injury and was quickly deemed a doubt for Tuesday's FA Cup fifth-round clash with West Ham on Tuesday.

Solskjaer has since revealed the extent of the issue, which could keen Pogba out of a series of big matches.

United play Real Sociedad home and away in the Europa League in February, before visiting Chelsea in the Premier League at the end of the month and Manchester City on March 6.

"It's an injury that will take a few weeks to heal," Solskjaer told MUTV. "He's just started his recovery, working with the medical staff and we'll get him back as soon and safely as we can.

"Of course, Paul has been very important for us and we're not going to take any risks. [It will be] a few weeks, definitely.

"You never want to be injured and, especially, now Paul was really finding his form and enjoying his football. For us, we just have to take as many points and wins as possible, when you lose players.

"We've been very healthy and strong for a long period so we can't moan too much."

Pogba scored winning goals at Burnley and Fulham in January, although United's form has since suffered a little, allowing City to build a five-point gap at the summit with a game in hand.

Meanwhile, Solskjaer suggested that captain Harry Maguire could be given a rest against West Ham, having sat out just two games since the campaign started.

"Of course I think about if he needs a rest, if he physically can keep going and going," said the United boss.

"The nature of a centre-back position is a different position compared to full-backs and wide men or even central midfielders, or any other position on the pitch. The centre-backs are the ones who are protected mostly from the real fatigue because you're working less.

"Then again, he's never injured, Harry. He's never been really badly hurt, touch wood, and hopefully he'll be able to carry on. But I'm not sure if he'll play on Tuesday or not. I've not decided yet."

United have scored 12 goals across their past two games and although Mason Greenwood did not find the net in the 9-0 win over Southampton or the draw with Everton, Solskjaer has been impressed by his recent displays.

Greenwood created two chances – one of which ended in an assist – and had two efforts on target against Southampton, while he also completed three dribbles. Versus Everton he failed to hit the target or supply a key pass, but was again successful with three of his five attempted dribbles.

"Mason was different class [against Everton]. I thought he was the standout performer on the pitch - he just didn't get the goal that his performance deserved," said Solskjaer.

"I think the last few games, if you look at him closely - yeah, I know we scored nine against Southampton - but if you look at his performance, I thought his performance was top.

"He's improved and matured immensely, and he's working with some of the top forwards in the country, of course. He's learning off them, and it's exciting to see that he's come over his blip and is playing really well."

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