Date published: Tuesday 19th March 2019 9:41
There is no mystery to Callum Hudson-Odoi's call-up to the full England squad; Gareth Southgate is desperately short of players who can beat opposition players with peace and trickery.
While Jadon Sancho is beating 4.1 players for 90 minutes in the Bundesliga, only one English player can match that number in the Premier League. And only five English players can beat Hudson-Odoi's running total of three successful dribbles for 90 minutes. The good news? His Europa League numbers (6.5 per 90) suggest those figures would be improved rather than diluted by more regular football.
I know which five players are beyond Hudson-Odoi in terms of dribbling in the Premier League this season?
Grady Diangana, West Ham, 20 (3.1 for 90)
Basically unknown before scoring twice in an 8-0 Carabao Cup romp in September. created a barely credible five chances. He has since returned to West Ham Under-23 duty but not before notching 484 minutes in the top flight. Oh and he is now on England's radar, joining up with their Under-20 squad this week.
Ademola Lookman, Everton, 21 (3.7 for 90)
Watching Theo Walcott labor in an Everton shirt while Lookman sits on the bench (or in the stands) must physically hurt Toffees fans. He played more Bundesliga minutes in half of the season in Leipzig than Premier League minutes back on Merseyside this season, which must leave him wondering why He is one of five Everton players in England Under-21 squad but none look likely to make up any time soon.
Josh Sims, Southampton, 21 (4.0 for 90)
This one is a bit cheeky as Sims has played only 45 minutes of Premier League football this season. But what a 45 minutes it was; he was off the bench when Southampton were getting battered by Tottenham and made an impact described as "perfect" by manager Ralph Hasenhuttl. A 1-0 deficit became a 2-1 win thanks to Sims running with the ball and taking risks. And to think he struggled for minutes. Reading after the youth Mark Hughes heard him out on loan …
Dominic Solanke, Bournemouth, 21 (4.0 for 90)
For £ 19m, you might have expected Solanke to start Premier League games for Bournemouth, but return of Callum Wilson from injury has relegated Solanke to the bench. The former Chelsea and Liverpool striker (who barely played for Chelsea and Liverpool) will have to wait to establish himself in the Cherries ’ And 15 minutes he played for England against Brazil.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Chelsea, 23 (4.1 for 90)
There is a reason why Gareth Southgate persists with Loftus-Cheek despite him starting only one Premier League game this season, and there is a reason why Southgate then up Hudson-Odoi they are both ball carriers and there are few of those around. His numbers – like those of his Chelsea teammate – even more impressive in the Europa League, which has given them both a platform for taking risks.