With the FIFA World Cup being just six months away, here are 10 players who could surprisingly be named in their country’s squads for the tournament in Russia.
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Former AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato recently told Omnisport he is hopeful of a return to the Brazil national team after a brilliant 2017 in the Chinese Super League.
The 28-year-old last represented the Selecao in 2013, but after rediscovering his goalscoring form, manager Tite might consider him for his 2018 squad.
Another two players Tite could think of calling up is Bordeaux’s in-form attacker Malcom and Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred. The former has not yet played a senior match for his nation, while the latter has featured for Brazil on six occasions.
Striker Carlos Tevez is another player looking to make a comeback on the international stage, despite his poor spell in China. The ex-Manchester United and Manchester City attacker could be an option for Jorge Sampaoli if he finds form at Boca Juniors.
He could come in for Argentine attacker Gonzalo Higuain, who has not been a favourite under the manager, while the likes of Mauro Icardi and Dario Benedetto are yet to find their best form in an Argentina shirt.
Given England’s current and arguably sub-standard midfield, the likes of Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Manchester City’s Phil Foden could be considered by Gareth Southgate, despite both players being just 17 years old.
Both midfielders have shown excellent promise at their respective clubs, and were brilliant in England’s U17 FIFA World Cup triumph.
BVB’s 18-year-old striker Alexander Isak could be a surprise inclusion for Sweden at the competition this year, while Iago Aspas’ form in LaLiga could see him being selected for Spain’s World Cup squad.
Surprise inclusions for France could come in the form of Florian Thauvin and Aymeric Laporte. While Thauvin has been in the mix of late, Laporte is yet to play for his country, although he could be an option for the World Cup considering Laurent Koscielny’s poor form this season for Arsenal.