With new European league seasons fully into their strides and the club football hiatus well in the rear-view mirror, plenty of fresh names have been on the lips of fans after impressing across the last two months.
How have some of those emerging individuals been recognised for starting with a bang? By getting a maiden international call-up, of course.
We look over five players who will be hoping to slot in with their national teams for the first time this week following eye-catching starts to the 2018/19 season.
Having glistened at points last season with Dortmund, following on from his impressive group stage-cameo role as England won the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Sancho has positively shone since the German Bundesliga kicked off. Providing pace, invention and, most importantly, end product off the bench in yellow so far, his numbers are staggering. His nine assists and one goal have come in just 407 minutes of football – being involved in a goal every 41 minutes in Germany and the UEFA Champions League. No one in Europe has more assists than the teenager.
Defensive midfielder, 21
While France are hardly lacking in midfield industry in their ranks, injury to Corentin Tolisso has opened the door to Ndombele, who has been policing the pitch for Lyon since last season. Having been key in leading Amiens into the top flight before earning a loan move to the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, he has been marked out as a talent to take note of. It did not take long for them to make that switch permanent, thanks to Ndombele’s cool head, excellent decision making and power when driving through midfield. “Without the ball, he brings balance to the team,” coach Bruno Genesio beamed.
One of a trio of young PSV players to be brought into the Oranje squad for the first time, Bergwijn has been garnering admiring glances from across Europe. Seemingly possessing jet-propelled boots, and all too keen to use them with the ball at his feet, Bergwijn looks to have some searing talent in his locker. There’s plenty of end product on offer, as well, with five goals and four assists in all competitions, he terrifies defenders as he twists and turns when coming in from the left flank.
Rodrigo De Paul
Attacking midfielder, 24
Seeing your name sat alongside a five-time winner of FIFA’s best men’s player award in the goal-scoring charts is rarely a bad place to find yourself. But, unlike Cristiano Ronaldo, De Paul has been impressing in the black and white for two years, finally leading to a call up for La Albiceleste. Handy across attacking midfield, the Udinese man is most commonly seen coming off the flanks with his head up, looking for ways to slice open the opposing defence. However, his sizzling strike against Cristiano Ronaldo’s cross-town rivals of Torino showed he can ably pick out the bottom corner, as well as a diagonal run.
Having made his name at Celta Vigo, Otto may be on the books of Atletico Madrid, but it’s in central England where he is making waves at the moment. The newly-promoted side have the fourth-tightest backline in the Premier League, with Otto operating as a left wing-back. Featuring in every league game so far, he has become a key cog in Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, and will now reunite with coach Luis Enrique, who had taken charge of the fledgling Otto at Celta back when he was just 19.