The International Break is finally over, but that doesn’t mean there was no football while the Premier League was on hold. Plenty of Fulham’s best were on display around the world during these past two weeks. Let’s take a look at how they all performed while representing their respective national teams.
G Marcus Bettinelli (England/0 caps)
D Cyrus Christie (Ireland/18 caps, 2 goals)
M Jean-Michael Seri (Ivory Coast/19 caps, 1 goal)
M Stefan Johansen (Norway/43 caps, 5 goals)
M Kevin McDonald (Scotland/3 caps)
M Floyd Ayite (Togo/37 caps, 10 goals)
M Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa (Cameroon/12 caps, 2 goals)
M Ibrahima Cisse (Guinea/1 caps)
M Mattias Kait (Estonia/16 caps, 5 goals)
F Aleksander Mitrovic (Serbia/42 caps, 19 goals)
We start with the senior players on the team, where Fulham are very proud to be home to nine players that represented their countries. What’s amazing about this is that that total could have been even greater if it weren’t for the injuries to Tim Ream and Tom Cairney. Even so, nine will do and all have them have contributed well for their respective national teams.
Kevin McDonald went on to triple his number of appearances for Scotland while Ibrahima Cisse played his first ever game for his native Guinea. Jean-Michael Seri, Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa and Floyd Ayite also featured for their respective countries in hopes of qualification for the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
Over in Europe, Stefan Johansen continued as captain of Norway in their first two games of the UEFA Nations League while also scoring two goals in their victory over Cyprus. The new competition was introduced this past week to make National Team games more meaningful with teams facing against others with roughly the same talent level. The competition features a final tournament for the winners of the four group winners from League A, promotion and relegation for every league, and will serve as seeding for Euro 2020.
For Johansen’s case, his country’s win over Cyprus was followed by defeat to Bulgaria in their group down in League C. While staying in that league, Mattias Kait was initially called-up for Estonia but had to withdraw due to injury. However, Aleksander Mitrovic continues to showcase why he’s always on fire with both of Serbia’s two goals against Romania. With that, he now has 19 international goals in 42 appearances and is slowly moving up the ranks as among the most lethal center forwards in the continent. Check out the highlights below and feel free to try your best to find a better goal over the past week than Mitrovic’s second goal (at about 5:23 of the video below).
Over in League B, Cyrus Christie featured in both of Ireland’s fixtures against Wales and Poland. He was deployed as a wide midfielder in a 4-4-2 in a 4-1 shallacking to Wales, but results improved when he returned to a more comfortable wingback position in Martin O’Neill’s 3-5-2 formation in their 1-1 draw with Poland.
Lastly, we need to talk about Marcus Bettinelli. Not since Bobby Zamora has a Fulham played for England, but it is quite a notable distinction once you consider that 1966 World Cup winner George Cohen and former England captain Johnny Haynes have played for the club. It is quite a reward for the goalkeeper that has continued to fight for his place as Fulham’s starting goalkeeper for the past four seasons. Now with 100 club appearances under his belt, Bettinelli will one day hope to actually play with the England crest on his search in future international breaks. Once everyone is healthy, it will be a tough stretch for “Betts” to beat Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope, Tom Heaton, Alex McCarthy and Jack Butland (and maybe Joe Hart), but it’s not like he hasn’t triumphed over adversity before.
G Marek Rodak (Slovakia Under-21s/7 caps, 1 goal)
M Jan Dugar Thorsteinsson (Iceland Under-21s/8 caps, 1 goal)
M Ryan Sessegnon (England Under-21s/3 caps)
D Steven Sessegnon (England Under-19s/1 cap)
F Terry Ablade (Finland Under-19s/2 caps)
G Luca Ashby-Hammond (England Under-18s/0 caps)
Harvey Elliott (England Under-16s/0 caps)
While it was great to see such representation of Senior Internationals playing at Craven Cottage, many will wonder when it will be Ryan Sessegnon’s time to shine at Wembley Stadium. Fortunately, the 18-year old boy wonder was gaining more experience at Under-21 level as he was a part of England qualification to next Summer’s European Championship. Expect more to come from Sessegnon at this competition if the former were to not happen all season.
Meanwhile, that is not a misprint at all when it is noted that Marek Rodak has scored a goal at Under-21. That marker came in last weekend’s outing against Jon Dagur-Thorsteinsson’s Iceland off of a 94th minute winner off of a corner kick. It was a major victory for Rodak’s Slovakia side, who could still qualify for the Euros as among the best runners-up spots from Group 2.
Incredibly, our very own Marek Rodak has scored tonight for Slovakia U21 to give them a late 3-2 win over Iceland U21. pic.twitter.com/lVm72MYziA— Fulhamish (@FulhamishPod) September 11, 2018
Meanwhile, both Steven Sessegnon and 16-year old newcomer Terry Ablade represented their respective countries for the first time at Under-19 level. Qualification for the European Championships at that age group begin in October or November, depending on the groups each National Team is in. Luca Ashby-Hammond was also called up for the England Under-18s but did not feature in any of their friendly appearances. Lastly, while not being a part of any Internationals last August, 16-year old Harvey Elliott is one to watch for the future as both Chelsea and Barcelona are believed to have started having him in their scouting reports.