Roy Hodgson is preparing to name a potentially record breaking England squad.
The Three Lions boss could tomorrow include FOUR Saints players in a senior England squad for the first time in the club’s history.
Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez have won England caps under Hodgson and could be joined for next week’s friendly against Denmark by teenage left back Luke Shaw.
If the four do get named, it will mean a remarkable NINE Saints players are likely to depart on England duty after this weekend’s game at Liverpool.
James Ward-Prowse is almost certain to get the nod for the England under-21s – he scored in a 9-0 rout of San Marino in the last game in November – while Sam Gallagher, Harrison Reed, Calum Chambers and Matt Targett will be with the under-19s.
The major focus will be on Hodgson’s senior squad, though, as players get one last chance to prove themselves ahead of the World Cup squad being announced.
The squad Hodgson names tomorrow is expected to number at least 30 as he takes the opportunity to look at players at close quarters in training as well as in the Denmark game at Wembley a week tonight.
Hodgson recently admitted he has been keeping a close eye on Shaw’s progress, along with his Saints team-mates Nathaniel Clyne and Chambers.
He admitted that, of the three, Shaw stands the best chance.
“You will have to wait and see (whether any of the three are picked for Denmark),” Hodgson said.
“I think of the three the obvious one who has been playing last season and has been in the team non-stop since the start of this season is Shaw.
“Clyne hasn’t played all the games and Chambers is an under-18 international.”
After next week’s Denmark game, the next England squad to be announced will be the 23 players pencilled in to go to the World Cup in Brazil and seven standbys.
The Three Lions will train in Portugal’s warm weather for five days in mid-May before seven players are cut from contention when England return to Wembley to play Peru in a friendly.
Once the 23-man squad is finalised, England fly to Miami for warm-up friendlies against Ecuador and Honduras before facing Dani Osvaldo’s Italy in their first World Cup group game on June 14.
“We will definitely take 30 players when we go to Portugal and we’ll keep those players until we play the friendly with Peru," said Hodgson.
“But (before Portugal) I’ll name the 23 and then name the seven who, at that moment, are not going to be in the final 23.
“In that way I put my cards on the table a bit earlier than I need to.
“We’re taking 30 players with us but several will know that, in my thinking, they’ve got to go there as standby players.”