Seven players who staked their club claim during the international break

Quick Reads

Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United players are among those who could have staked their claim for a place in their club teams with some positive international displays.

While this international break has been mainly used for managers to judge where players fall into their squads for this year’s World Cup, some players are still fighting for places in their club sides and may have viewed these games as a chance to impress ahead of the season’s run-in.

Here are seven players who did exactly that…

Isco

Isco scored his first career hat-trick as Spain hammered Argentina, but whether it leads to more chances with Real Madrid remains to be seen.

Speaking after the Argentina game, Isco said: “In Madrid, I don’t have the confidence a player needs. The matches with the national team give me life. Here, I have the confidence of the coach. I don’t know how to win Zidane’s confidence.”

Paul Pogba

Pogba has been struggling at Manchester United of late, being left out by manager Jose Mourinho, but he netted a brilliant free-kick for France on Tuesday night to remind everyone of his unbelievable ability.

The midfielder dedicated the goal to his late father, who recently passed away and would have celebrated his birthday on the day of the game, which Pogba impressed in throughout.

Demarai Gray

Gray has been limited to a bit-part role at Claude Puel’s Leicester City and has not played 90 minutes in the Premier League in 2018.

Saturday though saw the winger captain the England Under-21s and score the opening goal in a friendly against Romania before he played 74 minutes of the Euro 2019 qualifying win over Ukraine on Tuesday.

Patrik Schick

Schick has started just five Serie A matches for Roma this season as he plays second fiddle to a very in-form Edin Dzeko.

However, the Czech international came on at half-time of his side’s China Cup match against the hosts and scored as they came back from one down to win 4-1.

Dominic Solanke

On Tuesday, Solanke played through the pain barrier with a toe infection which had kept him out of England Under-21s’ friendly against Romania on Saturday.

He came off the bench to score the winner in the victory against Ukraine, which may force him back into Jurgen Klopp’s thoughts after seemingly being leapfrogged by Danny Ings in the Liverpool pecking order.

Gabriel Jesus

Jesus has played 90 minutes in Manchester City’s last two outings but amassed just 21 minutes in the three games prior to that, with his last Premier League goal coming way back in November.

The forward headed in Willian’s cross in a 1-0 victory for Brazil over Germany, while fellow City forward Sergio Aguero sat out Argentina’s two friendly matches.

Matty Phillips

Phillips has struggled for form at Premier League strugglers West Brom this season, scoring just one and assisting two as they lie bottom of the table.

He started in an unfamiliar central striker role for Scotland on Tuesday night, netting the only goal of Alex McLeish’s first win in charge.

“I really enjoyed playing up front with James Forrest, and it’s a position I feel I could grow into,” he said.


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