At this year’s World Cup in Russia, fans can expect to see many familiar faces from the 20 clubs in the English Premier League. As the most prestigious tournament in global football, the World Cup provides the perfect stage for individual talent to shine and announce themselves to the world. So with that in mind, here are six Premier League players to watch out for in the upcoming tournament.
Sergio Agüero – Manchester City
The 29-year-old Argentine international striker is a familiar face at The City of Manchester Stadium, having first signed with the club back in 2011. Agüero is renowned for having the highest goals per minute ratio in the Premier League since it’s foundation in 1992 and is the Blues’ all-time highest goal scorer. In Argentina’s latest friendly against hosts Russia, Agüero was instrumental in breaking the deadlock at Luzhniki stadium, when he scored the only goal in the 86th minute. Agüero also starred in his nation’s World Cup qualifiers, helping them narrowly qualify, despite a less than stellar qualifying campaign.
Harry Kane – Tottenham
Following the retirement of Wayne Rooney, the Spurs forward is looked upon to be the flag bearer for the Three Lions. Besides, English fans have been clamouring for a competent number 9 since Alan Shearer’s retirement in 2006. Coral states that Shearer still holds the Premier League’s record with 206 goals, compared to Kane’s 102. Still, at 24, Kane has a lot of time to break that record and is ninth in Tottenham’s all-time goalscorers list. Scoring a total of five goals in the qualifiers for this year’s World Cup, Kane helped England qualify ahead of Scotland. Whether or not Kane has a good tournament in Russia will play a big part in how far England will progress.
Kasper Schmeichel – Leicester City
Son of legendary keeper Peter Schmeichel, the Danish international goalkeeper, joined Leicester in 2011. Aided by Schmeichel’s reflexes, Leicester did the unthinkable in 2016 and won the League title. On the international stage, Schmeichel was key to Denmark booking a spot at the 2018 World Cup. The star goalkeeper went head-to-head with Martin O’Neill’s Ireland, in a 5-1 victory to book their ticket to Russia. The Leicester Mercury writes that World Cup 2018 will be the first time in Schmeichel’s career that he will play at the prestigious tournament.
Dejan Lovren – Liverpool
The Croatian international centre-back made his debut for his country in 2009, scoring 2 goals and gaining over 30 caps to his name. Joining Liverpool in 2014, Lovren has been responsible for a number of clean sheets as well as a few goals for his Anfield side both at home and in European competitions. Expect him to be at the centre of Croatia’s World Cup run.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson – Burnle
Booking a spot for their first ever World Cup, Iceland is also the smallest nation to qualify. Their star winger, Gudmundsson, scored a hat-trick for his country in 2013 and was the first to do so in 13 years. At Euro 2016, he helped Iceland advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament with a 2-1 victory over England. Here in the Pakistan Tribune, we praised Gudmundsson, saying his performance was especially impressive for Iceland at Euro 2016. He starred in every match for Iceland in the Euros including their defeat to France in the quarterfinals and will be a key member of the team again this year.
Idrissa Gueye – Everton
Signing with Liverpool side in 2016, the Senegal international holding midfielder became the first player in Europe’s top five leagues to win 100 tackles in the 2016/2017 Premier League season. The defensive midfielder helped his country qualify for a second ever appearance at the World Cup. Gueye said in an interview with Goal that Senegal have the team to make the Senegalese people proud and be even better than the side which featured in 2002. Gueye featured in all 8 qualifying matches for his country and was instrumental in the 2-1 win over South Africa which secured Senegal a spot at the World Cup.
Article contributed by JVB League