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Where are they now? The 6 teenagers Gareth Southgate handed England debuts

Since being appointed England manager in 2016, Gareth Southgate has handed out six debuts to teenagers and we’ve checked out where they are today.

There’s no denying that Southgate took on a tough job when he took the reigns from Roy Hodgson in 2016, but he’s done a good job in developing some of England’s brightest prospects.

We’ve gone back through Southgate’s time as England boss and have picked out the six teenagers that he has handed international debuts to.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

The Liverpool full-back was handed his debut against Costa Rica in a pre-tournament friendly leading up to the 2018 World Cup. Alexander-Arnold also made his competitive debut for England that year, starting in England’s group-stage game against Belgium.

Despite the obvious quality that Alexander-Arnold possesses, he’s never been a regular under Southgate. As the England boss is spoilt for choice at right-back, the likes of Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Reece James have often been ahead of him in the pecking order.

However, Southgate has started to utilise the 25-year-old more often of late in a more advanced role. As he continues to shine for Liverpool, we still think there’s more to come from Alexander-Arnold on the international stage.

Jude Bellingham

Bellingham made his senior England debut as a fresh-faced 17-year-old and is the youngest player to be handed a debut by Southgate. In fact, he is England’s third youngest debutant of all time as only Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott made their international debuts at a younger age.

Still just 20, Bellingham has the world at his fingertips. He’s smashing it for Real Madrid on a weekly basis and is now considered one of the first names on the team sheet for England.

There’s nothing stopping him from reaching the very top.

Bukayo Saka

The Arsenal winger made his debut for the Three Lions in a 3-0 triumph over Wales. Saka was just 19 years old at the time and he’s developed into one hell of a player since then.

It didn’t take long until Saka nailed down a consistent starting spot under Southgate and he’s now racked up 30 caps for England. He’s scored 11 goals in that time and has also been voted as the England Men’s Player of the Year for two years in a row.

“His hunger, his humility, are what’s got him on a good path,” Southgate told reporters when discussing Saka. “He has all the attributes to continue to improve and learn because that’s how he’s wired. I don’t see that changing with how he is and how his family are.

“He’s got great support around him. He’s progressing brilliantly, He’s a joy to work with.”

Mason Greenwood

Greenwood made his England debut at 18 in a Nations League clash with Iceland. That remains the only senior appearance for the forward who is currently on loan with Getafe.

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Southgate gave Hudson-Odoi his first chance as a teenager in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Czech Republic. Hudson-Odoi was considered hot-property while coming through at Chelsea, but his career has stalled of late.

The 22-year-old has only made three senior appearances for England and there have been rumours suggesting he could switch his international allegiance to Ghana. Hudson-Odoi recently moved to Nottingham Forest and admitted he is still pondering his international future.

“That decision hasn’t been made yet. I’m still thinking it over,” he told The Telegraph earlier this year. “Ghana is a very good option but let’s wait and see.

“Hopefully once I start playing games here, maybe Gareth [Southgate] or Ghana will come. It’s a nice position to be in and hopefully, sooner or later we will know.”

Jadon Sancho

Sancho made his senior debut for England as a fresh-faced 18-year-old in a Nations League clash with Croatia. The winger’s best spell undoubtedly came with Borussia Dortmund and since making the switch to Manchester United, he’s barely featured for England.

His last appearance on the international stage was back in 2021 and following a public fallout with Erik ten Hag, it doesn’t seem like he will be getting much action at Old Trafford either.


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