After some horrendous defeats and some soul searching going around Craven Cottage, it wasn’t the worst idea to take a break before some real important Premier League fixtures come up. An International Break that is. UEFA Nations League and African Cup of Nations action took place within the past week.
Let’s take a look at how all those at Motspur Park fared representing their countries this past week.
G Marcus Bettinelli (England/0 caps)
D Cyrus Christie (Ireland/20 caps, 2 goals)
M Jean-Michael Seri (Ivory Coast/21 caps, 1 goal)
M Stefan Johansen (Norway/45 caps, 5 goals)
M Kevin McDonald (Scotland/5 caps)
M Floyd Ayite (Togo/38 caps, 10 goals)
M Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa (Cameroon/14 caps, 2 goals)
M Ibrahima Cisse (Guinea/2 caps, 1 goal)
M Neeskens Kebano (DR Congo/21 caps, 5 goals)
F Aleksander Mitrovic (Serbia/44 caps, 21 goals)
Once again, Marcus Bettinelli got selected for England. Once again, Marcus Bettinelli couldn’t get his first cap because of how far down the pecking order he is in goal for his country. If Alex McCarthy were to get hurt or if Bettinelli can receive more Premier League experience, his time would come.
As for the rest of Fulham’s UEFA Nations League contingent, Mitro continued to be on fire by scoring both of Serbia’s goals (one via a penalty, another via a nice pass by Andrija Zivkovic) in a 2-0 win over Montenegro. It was the first time the two countries went toe-to-toe on a football pitch since they played as one nation in the 2006 World Cup. Mitrovic also played in his country’s 0-0 draw with Romania that saw them still on top of Group 4 in League C with two games to go. Only Romelu Lukaku has as many goals as Fulham’s target man in Nations League competition.
Meanwhile, Stefan Johansen continued as Norway’s captain and was a part of their campaign that currently sees them top of Group 3 in League C thanks to two 1-0 wins over Bulgaria and Slovenia. Kevin McDonald continued to rack up appearances for Scotland as a starter and second half substitute in their two defeats to Israel and Portugal, respectively. Lastly, Cyrus Christie was deemed Man of the Match in Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Denmark, but he wasn’t able to help his county escape potential relegation after a 1-0 defeat to Wales.
Down in Africa, Nations Cup competition was taking place which saw five Fulham players competing this month. While Neeskens Kebano did not play for the Democratic Republic of Congo, it was good to see him allowed to be selected as it was a sign of his recovery from the nasty ankle injury he picked up in the League Cup earlier this season.
Meanwhile, Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa played the full 90 minutes in Cameroon’s 1-0 win over Malawi that saw his country still on top of Group B qualifying. Jean Michael Seri also played the full match in the Ivory Coast’s 4-0 thrashing of the Central African Republic while Ibrahima Cisse scored his first ever goal for Guinea in their win over Rwanda that still puts them ahead in Group H play. Finally, Floyd Ayite played the full match in Togo’s 1-1 draw with Gambia.
G Marek Rodak (Slovakia Under-21s/9 caps, 1 goal)
M Jan Dugar Thorsteinsson (Iceland Under-21s/12 caps, 2 goals)
M Ryan Sessegnon (England Under-21s/5 caps)
At youth level, Ryan Sessegnon received two additional caps at Under-21 level as he played a major part in guiding England towards qualification for this Summer’s European Championships. Despite not scoring, the 18-year old looked lively in attack and should be a part of Aidy Boothroyd’s plans in Italy.
As for Marek Rodak, he continued to start in goal for Slovakia, and while it looked rosy with a 2-0 win over Estonia, Rodak’s side was defeated by Northern Ireland who leap-frogged them to second in Group 2 and thus ending their hopes of qualification. And while Iceland sat below them in fourth place, Jon Dugar Thorsteinsson went on to score his second goal for his country at Under-21 level in their 7-2 defeat to Spain.
D Steven Sessegnon (England Under-19s/2 caps)
G Luca Ashby-Hammond (England Under-18s/1 cap)
M Fabio Carvalho (England Under-17s/3 caps)
M Harvey Elliott (England Under-17s/3 caps)
Further down the pecking order in the age group ranks saw Steven Sessegnon continue to add to his resume at Under-19 level. The twin brother of Ryan started in England’s 4-1 friendly win over Portugal and will surely play a major part in Paul Simpspon’s plans for next month’s qualification campaign for the 2019 European Championships.
Meanwhile, Luca Ashby-Hammond recorded a clean sheet in England’s thrashing of Sweden in the first of two Under-18 fixtures at St. George’s park. Ashby-Hammond did not feature in their second match against the Czech Republic.
Lastly, Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho featured heavily in all three of England’s matches in an Under-17 youth tournament against Brazil, the United States and Russia. England went on to go unbeaten and would score at least three goals in all three fixtures. Look for both of them to feature much more heavily with the club after their exploits at age group level.