All eyes will be on England manager Gareth Southgate next Thursday (March 16), when he names his first squad since becoming full-time boss.
After two wins and two draws as caretaker boss, he will be keen for a first victory in the permanent role when England face Germany in Dortmund on March 22. After that ‘friendly’ international, it’s back to Wembley for a World Cup qualifier against Lithuania four days later.
Fans and pundits alike are awaiting the squad selection with a mix of excitement and trepidation. Will Southgate stick with the same players who have mostly disappointed or will he freshen things up by calling up a few uncapped players?
If he does opt for the latter, there are several players who have been tipped for selection.
Here are five stars who are uncapped at senior level and deserve at least a place in the squad later this month.
5. Michael Keane
The former Republic of Ireland youth player has been brilliant this season in a Burnley team which has exceeded expectations.
Frank Lampard recently named Keane in his Team of the Season, and it’s easy to see why. The 24-year-old is a confident and dependable defender who is getting better with every game he plays.
Having been called up to the England squad twice already, without picking up his first cap, it’s likely he will keep his place in the squad for the Germany and Lithuania games.
Whilst the chances of him starting a game are slim, with Gary Cahill and John Stones likely to continue their partnership, an international debut off the bench should happen.
4. Ben Gibson
The Middlesbrough defender is impressing for a struggling Boro team in his first ever Premier League season. He is reportedly attracting interest from a host of clubs, including champions elect Chelsea and Manchester City, with the Teessiders valuing him at around £30 million.
Southgate gave Gibson his debut for the England Under-21s and he was an important part of the team at the U-21 European Championships in 2015. He has played alongside John Stones in the centre of the defence and can also play at left-back.
That versatility and his leadership qualities should propel him to near the top of the list when it comes to Southgate handing out international caps.
As said above, the centre of defence is sufficiently covered but he could replace the injured Danny Rose at left-back. At the very least, he should be in the squad as a back-up option.
3. Nathan Redmond
Redmond, named England Under-21 Player of the Year in 2016, has scored nine goals in 33 appearances for the U-21s, and is more than ready for the step up to senior level.
The left-winger is in outstanding form for Southampton this season and is definitely knocking on Southgate’s door.
He possesses quick feet, frightening pace and the ability to change a game with one moment of magic. His undoubted talent has had people talking about him as a future star for years, although he has failed to live up to expectations thus far.
However, he seems to be showing glimpses of that potential recently and would provide Southgate with an exciting attacking option.
With players like Andros Townsend having a poor season, Jesse Lingard short of match time, and Danny Welbeck constantly on the treatment table, it would be no surprise to see Redmond in the squad.
2. Troy Deeney
The Watford striker has this term reportedly been more clinical than some of the top Premier League strikers, including Diego Costa and Romelu Lukaku.
With Jamie Vardy struggling for form and Daniel Sturridge out of favour, there could be a place in the squad for another striker. That place should go to Deeney.
He has scored and created more this season than both of those named above as well as Andy Carroll and Wayne Rooney. The Watford captain is good with the ball at his feet, possesses great leadership qualities, is one of the best in the league at holding the ball up and knows how to find the net.
Having rejected the chance to represent Jamaica twice, it could be now or never if the 28-year-old is ever going to play for England.
1. James Ward-Prowse
Another Southampton player who is having a fantastic season. England Under-21 captain Ward-Prowse got the chance to train with the senior team late last year and is now chomping at the bit for a chance to show what he can do at the top level.
He was nominated for the 2016 U-21 Player of the Year award and has 27 caps at that level. The 22-year-old is a versatile midfielder, who can play in the centre or on the wing, with a remarkable work ethic. He is comfortable on the ball, is always looking to make things happen and pops up with a few goals.
Perhaps the main reason for him deserving an England call-up is his set-piece capabilities. He is a specialist at free-kicks and corners and his selection would definitely add quality to the team in that department.
Ward-Prowse being selected by Southgate would be fully deserved and not in the least bit surprising.
Peter Reynolds, Pundit Arena