I’m sure that everyone involved at Fulham Football Club deserve an International Break. The senior team looks broken and a change in management had to be made. Whether Claudio Ranieri is the savior to keep Fulham in the Premier League is another story entirely. For now, the players went on to their respective national teams and took some respite away from the turmoil around them. Let’s take a look at how each of them did this month.
G Marcus Bettinelli (England/0 caps)
D Cyrus Christie (Ireland/23 caps, 2 goals)
M André-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Cameroon/15 caps, 2 goals)
M Floyd Ayité (Togo/40 caps, 11 goals)
M Ibrahima Cissé (Guinea/2 caps, 1 goal)
M Luca de la Torre (United States/1 cap)
M Jean Michaël Seri (Ivory Coast/22 caps, 2 goals)
M Stefan Johansen (Norway/46 caps, 5 goals)
F Aleksandar Mitrović (Serbia/46 caps, 23 goals)
Once again, Marcus Bettinelli gets called up for England, and once again, he sat on the bench with no appearance in sight. He had a chance to be counted upon in their friendly against the United States, but Alex McCarthy, the number one for Fulham’s next opposition in Southampton, went on and got his first International appearance instead. Jack Butland was also called up from Championship club Stoke City, so who knows if Bettinelli will ever get his chance if he keeps not being considered Fulham’s first choice once Ranieri gets more acclimated with the club.
Speaking of the United States, Luca De La Torre returned to the senior national team for the first time since June, but was not able to increase his international record beyond his one cap. Meanwhile, Jean Michael Seri’s Ivory Coast went head-to-head with Ibrahima Cisse’s Guinea with only the former not only playing but also scoring in that contest. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for Ivory Coast to claim all three points in a tie results in a 1-1 draw. Fortunately, both countries are in good position to move onto the African Cup of Nations Tournament this summer. Meanwhile, Floyd Ayite was also a part of a Togo squad that suffered a 4-1 defeat to Algeria in which Riyad Mahrez scored two goals. Next March’s meeting with Benin could determine if Togo qualifies. Lastly, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa was a part of Cameroon’s 2-0 defeat to Morrocco, and as long as they defeat Comoros, they should advance. Anguissa did not play in the International Friendly against Brazil and it is believed to have picked up an injury that might cost him selection for Saturday’s fixture.
Back in Europe, Cyrus Christie took part in both of Ireland’s fixtures that did not see a single goal scored. One of those draws saw them get relegated to League C and see Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane leave their posts as manager and assistant, respectively. Stefan Johansen continued to captain Norway and was able to guide them towards promotion to League B; winning their group after a victory to Cyprus and a draw with Slovenia. Finally, Mitro got back to being on fire by scoring twice in his two games with Serbia. His country went on to secure a 2-1 win over Montenegro followed by a 4-1 win over Lithuania to secure promotion to League B next season. Kevin McDonald and Tom Cairney were not a part of Scotland, but they’ll be happy to know that their national team also got promoted to League B.
F Ryan Sessegnon (England Under-21s/7 caps)
D Steven Sessegnon (England Under-19s/5 caps, 2 goals)
G Luca Ashby-Hammond (England Under-18s/6 caps)
D Cody Drameh (England Under-18s/0 caps)
M Fabio Carvalho (England Under-17s/7 caps)
M Harvey Elliott (England Under-17s/5 caps, 1 goal)
D Connor McAvoy (Scotland Under-17s/4 caps)
At youth level, the Sessegnon brothers continued to build on their reputations with England. Ryan added two substitute appearances in both of England’s wins while Steven went on to score twice in England’s three fixtures at Under-19 level. Luca Ashby-Hammond did get sent off in England’s first Under-18 fixture this month, but was able to return to the lineup in the remaining two games to help guide his country to victory in their four-team Under-18 tournament in Spain. Fulham’s latest sensation Cody Drameh was also called up for the Under-18s but did not play in any of England’s three fixtures. At Under-17 level, both Fabio Caralho and Harvey Elliott featured heavily in England’s three fixtures with the former being captain on two occasions and the latter scoring in their 3-1 win to Ireland. Lastly, Connor McAvoy helped Scotland secure qualification to next Summer’s Under-17 European Championship with his couple of appearances.