Soccer

10 Premier League stars with a point to prove during international break

With the Premier League shelved for the time-being, it is now time to look to the international break.

England take on Andorra, Hungary, and Albania in their three upcoming World Cup qualifiers, and there are many stars looking to maintain or find their good form

Of course, Gareth Southgate's side is not the only country in action over the next week or two, with all of the nations on all continents undergoing their own qualification campaigns.

However, the break is a huge opportunity for players to show they can compete on club and domestic fronts simultaneously, or for those who desperately need to find their good form.

And it is the latter who will be focused upon as the Daily Star Sport considers 10 Premier League players who have a huge point to prove during the international break.

10. Jannick Vestergaard

The Danish’s defender’s move to Leicester City in the summer has not gone to plan, with the Foxes’ leaky defence coming back to haunt them in their 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

Only Leeds United, Newcastle United, and Norwich City have conceded more goals then the 2015-16 Premier League champions; therefore, Vestergaard will need to show his qualities during the international break.

Despite his struggles at Leicester, he is a strong and dependable player for Denmark.

He will have to carry on his impressive international form if he is to maintain his place both with Rodgers’ side and his international team.

9. John Stones

Which player has the biggest point to prove in the international break? Comment below

After a rejuvenating campaign lasts season where he restored himself into the hearts of the Manchester City and England defence, Stones has found himself in the City wilderness again.

Guardiola has recently preferred to deploy Aymeric Laporte alongside Ruben Dias, and with the pair impressing so far this season, Stones looks to have a big fight on his hands to reclaim his place.

A strong showing in England’s World Cup qualifier matches against Hungary and Albania will surely be needed, if the former Everton man is going to play himself back into Guardiola’s plans.

8. Scott McTominay

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Manchester United fans and pundits and frequently been decrying their supposed lack of a top class central defensive midfielder, and it would be a huge surprise if this has not irked McTominay.

The 24-year-old is a vital and dependable player for Scotland, and he will need to demonstrate his worth in their matches against Israel, Faroe Islands, and Moldova.

United had been linked with moves for both Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips, however, McTominay will need to show he can provide everything those players can and more, if he is to silence his critics.

7. Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish’s performances for Manchester City have overall been positive, however even that is not enough when you are the first ever player to be signed by a Premier League club for £100m.

The former Aston Villa captain was the first player to be hauled off in Manchester City’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool, and he will need a strong international break to put that set-back behind him.

It must also be bugging him that he is yet to find the back of the net for England, and with Gareth Southgate saying in his press conference Grealish needs to boost his numbers, the next international fixtures could be massive for him.

6. Emerson Royal

It is perhaps unfortunate timing the end Tottenham Hotspur’s 100% winning and clean sheet start and their horrific three match losing run, coincided with Emerson Royal’s debut.

The Brazilian has been called up to Tite’s Brazil squad for their World Cup qualifying matches against Venezuela, Colombia, and Uruguay.

Royal’s start to life at Tottenham has not been good, and with three difficult tests coming up, he will need to demonstrate to Nuno Espirito Santo, he can be the dependable right-back Spurs have needed.

5. Giovani Lo Celso

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder did not endear himself to the club, after sneaking off to play for Argentina in the last international break without permission from the club.

But with the announcement fully vaccinated Premier League players can travel to red list countries and self-isolate within “bespoke facilities”, Lo Celso will be allowed to play for Argentina.

The former Real Betis man needs a strong international break to solidify a midfield spot in Santo’s team.

He has a lot of midfielders to compete with at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, and he will have to show he is the number one man in Argentina’s matches against Paraguay, Uruguay, and Peru.

4. Raheem Sterling

After a stellar Euro 2020 campaign, Sterling could perhaps be disappointed he has found himself behind the likes of Grealish, Phil Foden, and Riyad Mahrez.

Sterling was one of the players of the tournament, and Gareth Southgate clearly has plenty of faith in the 26-year-old.

However, with Foden returning and impressing against Liverpool, Sterling has another fight on his hands to break back into that starting eleven.

He’ll be licking his lips if he is deployed against Andorra, and with trickier matches against Hungary and Albania soon after, Sterling could very well put himself into centre stage for both England and Manchester City.

3. Kai Havertz

It seemed as if it was about to click for Kai Havertz at Chelsea after he netted the winner in the Champions League final.

Unfortunately, he has found himself suffering the same problems he endured under Frank Lampard, and current Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has called on him to bring more to the table.

One goal in nine appearances is a disappointing return for a player of the German's quality, and with Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s excellent performances from the bench in recent weeks, the competition in the attacking midfield area at Chelsea has grown once again.

2. Harry Kane

Kane has six goals in all competitions this season for Tottenham – unfortunately not one of them have come in the Premier League, despite making six appearances.

The England captain scored in the 4-0 victories against Hungary and Poland, before netting a corker of a finish in the Three Lions’ 1-1 away draw against Poland.

When the Tottenham hitman is firing, he is second to nobody, and he will be hoping to rediscover the goalscoring touch which made him one of the most feared forwards on the planet.

1. Jadon Sancho

The £73m is yet to really click at Manchester United; regularly finding himself on the bench behind an out of position Paul Pogba and a thriving Mason Greenwood.

At times Sancho looks to be struggling beneath the weight of his price tag as well as the disappointment of missing a spot-kick in the Euro 2020 final penalty shootout against Italy.

Sancho has talent in abundance, and there has been the occasional flash of magic for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

But now the pressure is on, and the international break could be the time for him to hit the ground and find the dazzling talent which has spellbound football fans over the last couple of years.

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