November 2021 International Round-Up: Blues on Duty

Everton first team stars and upcoming talent from Under-23s and Under-18s level were selected for international duty this November, with a number of players surpassing expectations.

First team

Jordan Pickford – England (Number 1)

Everton and England’s number one Jordan Pickford kept a clean sheet for England in their win against Albania 5-0 last Friday. Pickford however was dropped to the bench for England’s San Marino 10-0 win on Monday, helping England qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

Albania were more threatening in attack compared to San Marino although neither side really troubled the Blues’ goalkeeper, who previously spoke about his lack of clean sheets and said how he is in a “good state of mind” and is “doing all the right things on and off the pitch”.

These games increased Pickford’s save ratio to 76.9%, keeping 20 clean sheets in 43 appearances for England (according to Opta stats), with hopes of this form continuing within the Premier League this season.

Lucas Digne – France (Number 18)

Although Blues on Twitter were frustrated with his call up, Digne could only provide moral support to the France side during their 8-0 win over Kazakhstan last Saturday as he remained on the bench.

Digne did however start against Finland last night and managed to assist Kylian Mbappe to help France win 2-0 and secure a top place finish in group D of qualifying.

Seamus Coleman – Republic Of Ireland (Number 2)

Although their World Cup campaign has ended, Coleman captained the Republic of Ireland in a 3-0 win over Luxembourg last Sunday and managed to hold off Ronaldo’s Portuguese side to a 0-0 draw last Thursday.

Coleman currently has 62 caps for his country and has no intention of shying away from future international duty.

“I don’t want to be in the team to be an experienced player, I want to have a reason to be here and that is to be on the pitch. If I’m doing the business at club level and the international manager wants to pick me, I’ll be available.”

Alex Iwobi – Nigeria (Number 18)

Iwobi started in games against Liberia last Saturday, ending in a 2-0 win, and Cape Verde yesterday, ending in a 1-1 draw, causing attacking problems through his set piece taking in particular against Cape Verde.

The Nigerian Super Eagles managed to secure their place among Africa’s last ten teams, who will compete for the last five slots to play in Qatar 2022.

Anthony Gordon – England Under 21s (Number 19)

Man of the match Gordon scored twice in the first 11 minutes on his debut call-up for England U21s who beat Czech Republic U21s 3-1 at Turf Moor last Thursday, and also played in the last 25 minutes during a 3-2 loss to Georgia U21s yesterday.

Although his first goal against Czech Republic was a deflected shot, the second came from smart positioning and an easy follow-up finish from close range, with quick attacking movement, taking on defenders and putting in good crosses for 90 minutes.

Former England goalkeeper Rob Green described Gordon as a “real threat”, with Gordon himself saying “it was a really good game. I was happy to score, we started really well and then eased off. I loved it.”

I’m sure we would all love to see him in a blue shirt this weekend.

Under 23s

Reece Welch – England Under 20s (Number 15)

Welch was called up to replace Leeds United Cody Drameh for an international friendly match and was subbed on in the 79th minute against Portugal Under 20s in a 2-0 defeat last Thursday.

After signing for the Blues in September 2020, the 18-year-old defender will be training hard in the hopes of keeping his name on the back of an England shirt.

Zan-Luk Leban – Slovenia Under 21s (Number 12)

Luk Leban remained on the bench during a 3-0 win over Albania U21s last Friday and during a 1-1 draw with Czech Republic U21s yesterday, with international training providing a great experience for the young Slovenian goalkeeper.

Ryan Astley – Wales Under 21s (Number 2)

Astley marked his debut at right-back against Gibraltar U21s last Friday by scoring a header in the 88th minute, assisted by teammate Rhys Hughes, and also played 90 minutes against Switzerland U21s yesterday in a 1-1 draw.

Rhys Hughes – Wales Under 21s (Number 16)

Hughes was substituted on in the 70th minute against Gibraltar and placed a perfect set piece ball onto the head of teammate Ryan Astley, whilst also playing in the last 10 minutes of the game against Switzerland.

The Welsh Blues however sit fourth in group E of the Euro Under-21 Qualifying, with their chances of progressing look slim.

Under 18s

Luke Butterfield – Scotland Under 19s (Number 17)

Although remaining on the bench during a 3-2 loss to Armenia U19s one week ago, Butterfield started during a 3-0 against Gibraltar last Saturday and scored his first international goal in the 77th minute, after quickly getting on the end of a low driven cross.

The Scottish midfielder also played against Croatia U21s on Tuesday, as he was substituted on in the 77th minute to help his side pull back an equalising goal in stoppage time, finishing the game at 1-1.

Lets hope the toffees on duty this November are back and fit to play in blue again for their next league fixtures.

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