3 Southampton Players That Deserve International Call-Ups
Claudio Villa/Getty Images
This season, Southampton are blessed (or cursed, depending on your opinion) to have a number of players that are playing international football for their home countries.
During the last international window, eight Saints players (Maya Yoshida, Japan; Dejan Lovren, Croatia; Steven Davis, Northern Ireland; Artur Boruc, Poland; Dani Osvaldo, Italy; Rickie Lambert, England; Victor Wanyama, Kenya; and Gaston Ramirez, Uruguay) were called into their country's senior squads.
That doesn't include players like Lloyd Isgrove, Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and Calum Chambers who appeared with various youth national teams during the window.
Despite the high number of internationals Southampton already have, there are cases to be made that the Saints should have even more. Here are three players from the Southampton squad that should draw the attention of their national team managers.
Jose Fonte, Portugal
Jose Fonte has been part of one of the best center back tandems in the Premier League this season.
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Last season, Jose Fonte was having trouble hanging on to his place in the starting 11. This season, the Portuguese center back has become a member of one of the best back lines in the Premier League.
Fonte is one of the top defenders in terms of intercepting the ball, averaging 2.3 interceptions per game, which ranks 18th in the Premier League according to WhoScored.com. In addition, the 29-year-old ranks ninth in the Premier League in terms of clearances, with 9.5 per match.
Fonte's skills aren't limited to defense. Southampton's No. 6 is very accurate picking out forwards with long passes. He averages 7.2 accurate long balls per match, which is fifth in the Premier League. At 57.3 percent accuracy (43/75), that ranking doesn't come from pure volume.
The Portuguese defender is quite good in the air on both ends of the pitch. Fonte has won 60 percent of his aerial duels this season (23/38) and scored the game-tying goal against Sunderland earlier this season off of a corner kick.
While Fonte would have a hard time breaking into the Portugal starting 11 with Bruno Alves and Pepe firmly entrenched as the starting center-back tandem, he could certainly make the squad as a back up. Ricardo Costa, Luis Neto, Henrique Sereno and Nuno Andre Coelho would serve as Fonte's primary competition.
Adam Lallana, England
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Adam Lallana has drawn Roy Hodgson's attention before, earning a call up into the England squad for the friendly against Ukraine last September.
But the Southampton captain didn't get to play in that match and Lallana has yet to get another chance in the England squad.
Lallana has started this season in solid form. The 25-year-old is tied for second in the Premier League with two assists, bested only by Arsenal's Mesut Ozil. He also ranks 20th in the Premier League in accurate crosses with 1.3 per match, according to WhoScored.com.
England doesn't exactly have a long list of wingers that are playing well with their clubs. Danny Welbeck, James Milner, Raheem Sterling and Ashley Young are all struggling to find their form.
Perhaps it's time for Hodgson to find Lallana's number again.
Morgan Schneiderlin, France
Morgan Schneiderlin is one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League, if not the world.
Steve Bardens/Getty Images
Perhaps the most glaring omission of a Southampton player not making their national team continues to be Morgan Schneiderlin.
Viewed by some to be one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League last season, Schneiderlin has yet to draw the attention of French manager Didier Deschamps.
Schneiderlin was a defensive wrecking ball in the midfield last season, with 4.1 tackles and 3.9 interceptions per match last season, according to WhoScored.com. While the Frenchman's stats are down this year, in part to the presence of Victor Wanyama, the 23-year-old still ranks 16th in the Premier League with 3.5 tackles per match.
Often overlooked are Scheiderlin's passing skills. The Southampton Player of the Year has completed 230 of his 267 passes this season, a rate of 86.1 percent, according to WhoScored.com.
Schneiderlin's primary competition for a spot on the French team seems to come from Blaise Matuidi of Paris Saint-Germain, Newcastle United's Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sissoko, and Juventus' Paul Pogba.
France haven't been renowned for their ability to get stuck-in and grind out wins, as a draw at Georgia would indicate. Certainly Schneiderlin would bring some grit and determination to the side.