Gareth Southgate may be forced into making at least one surprise England squad selection for this summer’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
That’s according to a recent report from the Telegraph, who claims Leicester City full-back Luke Thomas, 20, has emerged as an outsider to be named in the Three Lions’ international squad.
Regular England left-backs Ben Chilwell and Luke Shaw are both enduring tough spells for two different reasons.
Chelsea’s Chilwell suffered an injury to his cruciate ligament last year which has ruled him out for the remainder of the season (Sky Sports) and Manchester United’s Shaw is struggling for game time under new interim manager Ralf Rangnick.
In an attempt to navigate his way through what is turning into a minor full-back crisis, Southgate is understood to be considering Thomas as a shock contender to join up with England for their next set of international fixtures.
In preparation for this summer’s World Cup, this March will see the Three Lions play friendlies against Ivory Coast and Switzerland and one name understood to be on Southgate’s shortlist is Thomas.
It isn’t just the England boss who thinks highly of the young defend though – his club manager has also piled the praise on recently.
Speaking after his side’s Carabao Cup quarter-final tie against Liverpool about the quality Thomas has to offer, Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers had nothing but nice things to say about the talented 20-year-old.
“I said to him afterwards that he was brilliant during the game,” Rodgers said (as quoted by Leicester Mercury). “He’s developing so well. It’s another great experience for him. The atmosphere was great as it always is at Anfield. It was a really good game.
“It was unfortunate for him to miss the penalty, but in the game he was exceptional. He’s a tough boy and he will move on.”
Since being promoted to the club’s first-team 18-months ago, Thomas has gone on to feature in 46 matches, in all competitions, establishing himself as a valuable senior member of Rodgers’ squad.