Seven Premier League players who impressed this international break

Quick Reads

Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City men have all caught the eye for their respective countries during the international break.

The Nations League has added an extra element of competition and intensity to international football, and it has become a lot more enjoyable as a result.

We’ve taken a look at the Premier League players to have shone away from their clubs over the last week.

Juan Foyth

It has been an exciting few weeks for Foyth, who finally made his Premier League debut for Tottenham over a year after joining the club – let’s not talk about the two penalties he conceded – before bagging the winner at Crystal Palace a week later.

The defender had already earned a call-up to Argentina’s senior squad prior to his top-flight bow in England, but he made his debut at the weekend in a 2-0 win over Mexico.

And the 20-year-old’s assured performance at the back saw him named man of the match and earn plenty of praise from manager Lionel Scaloni*.

“I think we are in front of a big centre-back, an important player for the future of the national team, and his coach [Pochettino] is taking it in an extraordinary way.

“We are very happy with Foyth, we are talking about a great centre-back, with a great future, it was a risk to start him, but he did it very well.”

*How the f*ck is Lionel Scaloni Argentina manager?

Xherdan Shaqiri

2-0 down at home to Belgium? Step forward, Xherdan – and Tom Victor: ‘Shaqiri is different to most players of his ilk, and not just because watching him in action looks like someone has attached Jimmy Grimble’s magic boots to a piece of carry-on luggage.’

Read more about his star turn here.

READ: Xherdan Shaqiri, the maverick who will do things just because he can

Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum may have been among the goals as the Netherlands beat world champions France, but the victory was built on the platform of captain Van Dijk keeping the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe quiet.

He even found time to have a dig at Sergio Ramos, telling De Telegraaf: “He’s not the kind of defender I like.”

Good work all around.

Fabian Delph

Plenty of eyebrows were raised when Delph was named England captain for the friendly against the USA and kept his place for the Nations League clash with Croatia.

It’s worth remembering that few, if any, English midfielders would break up Manchester City’s trio of Fernandinho, David Silva and Bernardo Silva – with Kevin de Bruyne still to return – and Delph repaid Gareth Southgate’s faith with an excellent display against Croatia.

Ryan Fraser

Fraser has shone in the Premier League for Bournemouth this season and was among the goals with an excellent curling finish in Scotland’s 4-0 win in Albania – his first in senior international football.

The winger now has five goals and seven assists in 16 appearances for club and country this term.

READ: Ryan Fraser: Another of football’s small dogs underestimated by opponents

Aleksandar Mitrovic

“I have no idea why I’ve done that, I was watching Depay yesterday and decided at last moment. I am stupid…”

In what was a typical 90 minutes in the life of Mitrovic, the Fulham striker produced an excellent finish to put Serbia 2-0 up against Montenegro, was punched in the back of the head by Marko Simic and also found the time to Panenka a penalty over the bar after a comically-awarded penalty.

Still, Mitrovic’s goal proved decisive as Montengro pulled a goal back in the second half, but Serbia held on to win 2-1. Don’t be too hard on yourself, mate.

Rui Patricio

Patricio himself admits Portugal “did not have a great game” in their 0-0 draw with Italy, but the result was enough to see the Euro 2016 champions secure top spot in group A3 with one game still to play.

That Portugal left the San Siro with a point had a lot to do with Patricio and his defence’s rearguard effort, with the Wolves goalkeeper producing a particularly fine save from Lorenzo Insigne.


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