One of the most exciting things about international breaks is the chance to watch young talent make their debut.

An international debut is a special time, they can be thrilling (Marcus Rashford) or disastrous (Leo Messi), hell, sometimes they can be the only international experience a player gets (David Nugent). One thing they most certainly are is exciting, however.

With the upcoming international break we’ve had a look around the world and come up with the 8 most exciting international debuts we’re looking forward to over the course of the next two weeks:

Nathaniel Chalobah

Midfielder, England, 23-years-old

Obviously there are plenty of exciting youngsters ready to debut in the England squad such as Jadon Sancho or Mason Mount, but Nathaniel Chalobah holds perhaps the most interest of them all because of two words: system and structure.

England’s 3-5-2 needs a strong player at the base of midfielder, a player capable of screening opponent’s passes whilst also circulating the ball in a clean and efficient manner, facilitating his other midfielders to attack. Jordan Henderson can facilitate (albeit in a strictly direct manner) which gives England’s system an insecure structure, especially because he’s a poor defender in transition.

Chalobah potentially gives England everything they could want at the base of midfield, and moreover he has worked extensively with Gareth Southgate when the coach was in charge of the u-21 side. This could be the beginning of a very special international career.


Forward, Brazil, 21-years-old

Do you remember when Malcom was one of the hottest prospects in Europe and had multiple clubs fighting over him before Barcelona snagged him from under Roma’s noses? Squawka remembers. Even if right now Barcelona seem to have forgotten. The electrifying winger has been called up to the Brazil squad and will seemingly fill the void of Douglas Costa, a task to which he is perfectly suited. Imagine his pace, dribbling and range shooting alongside Coutinho and Neymar’s creative capabilities? Frightening!

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Tanguy Ndombele

Midfielder, France, 21-years-old

Ndombele has been so superb across his season and a bit playing for Lyon that he has already broken into the midfield of the World Champions. Ndombele will likely start on the bench, but as a creative midfielder he has the potential to really electrify the French side. Most obviously he will be a sub for Paul Pogba but the possibility exists for him to replace N’Golo Kanté and give the French midfield an entirely unique feel if Didier Deschamps is feeling adventurous.

Steven Bergwijn

Winger, Netherlands, 20-years-old

The exciting young Dutch side is going to get a whole lot more… well, exciting, with Steven Bergwijn in the team. The flying winger who is paired with Hirving Lozano for PSV will look to bring that same energy to playing with Memphis Depay. He will add pace, creativity and goals (he has 4 goals and 4 assists in 8 Eredivisie appearances so far this season) a side that could really use them.

Juan Foyth

Defender, Argentina, 20-years-old

Argentina have one of the most illustrious forward lines in the world, but they are so top-heavy that barring some Leo Messi miracles in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to drag them to three consecutive finals, they are basically a disaster. Juan Foyth is a tall, powerful, tactically disciplined centre-back who is only just 20 years old. Mauricio Pochettino has worked wonders for the England national team, can he bring his magic touch to his home country of Argentina? It’ll be fun to watch!

Jonny Otto

Full-back, Spain, 24-years-old

Jonny loves a tackle. A fiercely combative full-back, Jonny is right-footed but plays on the left. Now at Wolves playing as a wing-back, he has taken this defensive solidity and added attacking output. He is a constant force up and down the left for Wolves, and given Luis Enrique seems uninterested in calling up his finest left-back in Jordi Alba, there’s a definite spot Jonny could compete for on the left side for his national side. Sure he lacks the stature of Marcos Alonso (both literally and figuratively) but he’s a fighter, and Lucho loves fighters.

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Helder Costa

Forward, Portugal, 24-years-old

Portugal are in need of a new direction as they look to restructure their attack around the several bright young talents they have in their squad. Right now they have the top scorer in La Liga (André Silva) and arguably the best midfielder in the Premier League (Bernardo Silva) and having Helder Costa around as someone to play off Silva and add work and effort in the final third could be supremely useful and add a new dimension to the Portuguese attack (especially as club-mate Ruben Neves is also in the squad).

Marcelo Saracchi

Full-back, Uruguay, 20-years-old

Uruguay are a side known for their tough-tackling, hard-defending ways. So imagine what would happen if one were to inject an attacking left-back into that mix? Someone who could stretch play and provide width on the outside of their diamond midfield without being a defensive liability like Diego Laxalt?

That’s what Marcelo Saracchi could be. Obviously he’s still just 20 so it’s very early, but if his debut goes well he could quickly become a key part of Oscar Tabarez’s set-up much like Lucas Torreira did. Saracchi has created five chances, won 10 tackles and made 9 interceptions. He’s potentially exactly what Uruguay need on that flank.

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