Statistical Analysis

Southgate’s Squad: Young and old blood brought in for England vs. Germany

Tue, 21 March 2017, 14:21

After four games as caretaker manager at the back end of last year, Gareth Southgate takes charge of England as permanent boss for the first time against Germany this week.

Southgate’s first squad as full-time gaffer has sprung a few surprises – with Jermain Defoe returning from international exile, and the first call-ups for uncapped James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond.

With the World Cup hovering into view just over a year away, what can we read into Southgate’s squad, and what does this mean for Russia 2018 (should England qualify, of course…).

 

Already in his short spell in charge, Southgate has chosen to stick with what he knows.

His first game as boss, against Malta, saw a debut handed out to Jesse Lingard – a player Southgate knows well from his time as manager of the England Under 21 team.

Lingard played in 11 of Southgate’s 33 matches as U21 coach, and was preferred to the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andros Townsend – players with more international experience, but who had never been managed by Southgate before.

Redmond and Ward-Prowse have been called up to the squad for the matches against Germany and Lithuania, and looking at the highest U21 appearance makers under Southgate, it’s no surprise.

The Southampton pair were the two highest, featuring in 26 and 24 matches respectively, with Ward-Prowse often featuring as the Young Lions skipper.

Michael Keane, another uncapped player in this squad, was another Southgate mainstay.

He featured 15 times at the heart of the U21 defence, and will be hoping to make his full debut this week.

With Southgate looking to players he knows well, it could be good news for the likes of Chelsea’s Nathaniel Chalobah, who played 23 times, and surprisingly, Charlton’s Jake Forster-Caskey.

Premier League regulars who may be more likely to make the step-up to full honours in the near future could be Swansea’s Tom Carroll (15 caps) and Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson (15 caps) – with full internationals Jack Butland (19) and Harry Kane (13) near certainties for the trip to Russia next summer.

 

It would be disingenuous to claim the only reason Ward-Prowse, Redmond or Keane are in the current squad is because Southgate knows them already – all have performed at a high level all season.

Redmond’s first season at Southampton has been a real success as he helped the Saints to the EFL Cup final – creating 44 league chances and being successful with 64% of his take-ons so far this term.

Ward-Prowse also played a part in Southampton’s run to Wembley, with an impressive 83% of the midfielder’s passes being completed – as well as creating 32 chances and four assists. He also scored against Tottenham at the weekend.

Burnley defender Keane has been a revelation at the heart of the Clarets defence as they’ve kept seven clean sheets this term – he’s made a mammoth 216 clearances and 57 interceptions from his 29 Premier League games this season as his side look set to comfortably avoid relegation.

 

England top of their qualifying group, and with just over a year away from the World Cup, those three could be forgiven of dreaming of a summer in Russia – and the omens are good.

The Three Lions have form for picking young and untested players at major tournaments – look at 18-year-old Marcus Rashford at the Euros last year, or 17-year-old Theo Walcott at Germany 2006.

Over the past 10 tournaments that England have qualified for since Euro ’96, there have been an average of 6.7 players with fewer than 10 caps, and 6.6 players aged 23 or under.

With just eight fixtures currently scheduled before the 2018 tournament, if these three uncapped players are able to establish themselves in Southgate’s squad now, they may be able to pencil in a trip to Moscow next summer.

There’s also hope for some players who aren’t anywhere near the squad – eight of the ten squads have featured players with three caps or less, with Scott Carson (World Cup 2006), Michael Dawson (World Cup 2010) and Jack Butland (Euro 2012) all making the plane to the tournaments without a full international appearance to their name.

There may even be hope for players who aren’t even in their club’s thoughts – Rashford only made his senior debut three months before being named in Roy Hodgson’s squad last year.

 

 

Games

Goals

Goals / Game

Shots

Accuracy

Assists

Chances Created

Kane

22

19

0.86

69

63%

4

30

Vardy

25

8

0.32

35

48%

4

22

Defoe

27

14

0.52

64

58%

2

13

Deeney

28

9

0.32

33

59%

3

32

Carroll

15

6

0.40

33

48%

1

13

Wilson

20

6

0.30

31

50%

0

8

Sturridge

14

2

0.14

28

67%

1

8

Rashford

22

3

0.14

30

57%

1

14

Gray

23

8

0.35

40

55%

2

16

Austin

13

6

0.46

36

55%

1

8

Crouch

20

4

0.20

24

50%

2

12

 

Rashford’s form for Manchester United in his whirlwind first year in senior football has seen him retain his place under Southgate, and he’s likely to feature this week.

However, the more eye-catching inclusion has been Sunderland’s Defoe, returning to the international fold after his last cap in 2013.

The 34-year-old was written off by Hodgson as too old, with much younger players preferred – but the stats show this return is long overdue.

Defoe is the third highest scorer for English strikers in the Premier League over the past two seasons, with his goals almost single-handedly keeping Sunderland afloat since his arrival on Tyneside.

He sits behind only Kane and Vardy, and ahead of Daniel Sturridge, Rashford and Charlie Austin, who have all received call-ups since Defoe was last in the squad.

Other than Peter Crouch, who has just four PL goals in the past two seasons, Defoe also comfortably has the most international experience and goals of anyone else on the list, and is one of the only players who has scored at a major tournament – netting at the 2010 World Cup.

With the 2018 edition just around the corner, and arch-finisher Defoe still banging in Premier League goals, what odds a spot in the squad for the veteran next year?

Statistical Analysis discovers hidden trends and values in major gambling events by deciphering both contemporary stats and historical data. We derive our probabilities from history, not just betting odds, so you don't have to.

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