The uncapped quartet in latest England squad
Gareth Southgate appears willing to try new options for the friendlies with Holland and Italy.
Nick Pope, James Tarkowski, Alfie Mawson and Lewis Cook will all hope to make their first appearances for England this month having been called up to the latest squad.
The uncapped quartet are all part of Gareth Southgate’s 27-man group for the friendlies with Holland and Italy.
Here Press Association Sport runs the rule over the four players.
Nick Pope (Burnley)
Called upon when England goalkeeper Tom Heaton got injured in September, Pope has proved a fine deputy and may have moved ahead of Heaton in the pecking order for club and country. Previous Three Lions number one Joe Hart has barely featured for West Ham, while Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford’s clubs have both struggled this season, so the 25-year-old Pope has warranted his selection having kept 10 top-flight clean sheets for one of the division’s surprise packages.
James Tarkowski (Burnley)
Defender Tarkowski is another who has to bide his time with the Clarets having initially been back up to Ben Mee and Michael Keane following his move in the 2016 winter window. Tarkowski has ensured Burnley have not missed a beat since Keane was sold to Everton last summer. The 25-year-old is strong and quick and excellent in possession. With Phil Jones injured, Chris Smalling apparently not fancied by international boss Gareth Southgate and Gary Cahill out of favour at Chelsea, there is an opportunity for Tarkowski and fellow new boy Mawson at the back.
Alfie Mawson (Swansea)
Mawson was one of the most impressive performers with the Under-21s last summer, where his leadership qualities were evident as Aidy Boothroyd’s men made it to the semi-finals of the Euros. Southgate has shown a willingness to promote those who have represented the Three Lions’ youth teams and Mawson, 24, may have earned an earlier call-up had Swansea not struggled at the start of the campaign. If Southgate wants to play with three at the back, he needs as many options as possible and Mawson should get his opportunity to book his space on the plane to Russia this summer.
Lewis Cook (Bournemouth)
This is not midfielder Cook’s first involvement with the senior side as he was promoted from the Under-21s, along with Dominic Solanke and Angus Gunn, in November following a spate of withdrawals. None of that trio made it onto the pitch against Brazil and Cook is the only one Southgate has called up this time after a spell as a regular with Bournemouth. The 21-year-old Cook was captain of the England Under-20s side that won the World Cup last year and will provide a creative element that England have lacked in midfield.