Roy Hodgson has chosen to acknowledge Southampton’s unexpectedly excellent start to the season in no uncertain terms by calling up no less than three of Mauricio Pochettino’s side to his England squad ahead of what could prove unusually compelling friendlies against Chile and Germany.
The Three Lions are 9/10 favourites for victory against the South Americans but they’ll have to defy 17/10 underdog status to turn over the Germans at Wembley.
Former England Under-21 Jay Rodriguez earns a senior call-up for the first time.
The former Burnley youth contemplated a plumbing career when consumed with doubts over whether or not he would make it in the game, but three goals and an assist in seven Premier League appearances this season have caught Hodgson’s eye.
Earmarking him as a player who could fill “the Welbeck role” the England supremo will undoubtedly have been equally as impressed by Rodriguez’s commitment to Pochettino’s high-pressing defensive style at St Mary’s.
Rickie Lambert can earn his fourth cap whilst Saints’ skipper Adam Lallana receives a second call up.
In the absence of form or fitness from fellow England big men Peter Crouch and Andy Carroll, Lambert, who shares Southampton top league scorer honours with Rodriguez at present, will continue his late-career fairytale.
Meanwhile his captain at club level will be tantalised with the prospect of a first national cap for a second time, having been called up for the home World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in 2012.
Luke Shaw and James Ward-Prowse have made 18 Premier League appearances between them this term.
Further recognition for the south coast club’s stars came at Under-21 level where Shaw and Ward-Prowse both received nods from England boss Gareth Southgate.
With both young tyros appearing regularly in the top flight it’s far from impossible that they could force their way into the full squad reckoning in the near future.
If not for the World Cup in 2014 – for which England can be backed for victory at odds of 20/1 – then most certainly as Roy Hodgson begins the process of creating a new set of foundations for the national side as the Lampard/Gerrard era draws to a close.