With no Premier League games this weekend due to the
mandatory enforced bothersome international break, fans are allowed to catch their breath and focus on life's big picture. You can take your significant other to a nice romantic evening, perhaps catch up on that pile of books you've meant to read, or even clean the attic.
But we all know that deep down inside we crave for more football, and even if international football can be a bit tedious to watch, you know you want to. With Southampton's good start to the season, several first-team members of the squad had caught the eyes of their respective national teams, with up to 16 players away on international duty, here's our handy guide to keep track of those currently swapping the red and white stripes with their national team colors.
Fraser Forster & Nathaniel Clyne
We've written about Clyne's first call-up to the senior side previously here. With limited options at right back and the fact that England will be playing the world's worst team (joint-bottom of FIFA's World Rankings at 208th along with Bhutan), Clyne could be among the first eleven in Wembley, before making the trip to Talinn to play Estonia.
New arrival Forster (two caps), has been a key part of the Premier League's best defense having only conceded four goals in seven games. His performance is certainly worthy of a start against San Marino and Estonia.
The ever-dependable Davis has made six appearances for Southampton this season, and is one of the first name in team's starting lineup. Davis has 69 appearances along with five goals for his country, and is also Northern Ireland's skipper. Northern Ireland could make it two wins out of two as they'll face minnow, Faroe Island, before visiting Greece.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Signed from Hull City this past summer, Long is still looking for his first goal for the club. At the moment he will be directing his attention to Republic's two Euro qualifiers fixtures against Gibraltar at home and a visit to Germany. If he play against Gibraltar, it will be Long's 50th cap for Ireland, having scored 11 goals in 49 previous appearances.
It's true what they say, better late than never. At the age of 30, Fonte has been called up to the senior side for the first time. Portugal has just parted ways with head coach Paulo Bento following a poor World Cup campaign that saw them crashed out in the group stage as well as a 1-0 defeat against Albania in the Euro qualifiers last month. Former Greece head coach, Fernando Santos in now the man in charge of A Selecção. Portugal will face Denmark and France, where he'll likely face fellow Saints, Morgan Schneiderlin.
It could've been oh so different had Southampton relented to Schneiderlin's public display of displeasure when he wasn't granted a move to Tottenham last summer. But Schneiderlin stayed, and has let his work on the field do the talking. That has earned him a call-up to national team and will have the chance to add to his four caps as France take on Portugal and Armenia in the buildup to Euro 2016 in their own backyard.
Another Saints player to have earned his first national team call-up is Pellè, who has four goals in six games with The Saints following his move from Feyenoord, where he had 55 goals in 66 appearances. He will face stiff competitions from other strikers in Azzurri's squad, but expect him to feature at some point against Azerbaijan or Malta.
The 25-year old defender joined Southampton from Steaua Bucharest this past summer and though he has only played in two games, he's a key part of the national team set-up and has been called up for their upcoming clashes against Hungary and Finland. Romania is set to meet Northern Ireland next month, as both teams are in the same group, possibly pitting him against Steven Davis.
Another defender that joined the club this summer (on a season-long loan from Atletico Madrid), Alderweireld (39 caps, one goal) is one of several Belgium national team players that ply their trade in Premier League. Able to play as a central defender and right back, he should feature against Bosnia & Herzegovina and Andorra.
Our new left midfielder/winger has enjoyed a good start in England following a move from FC Twente in the summer. In seven games, Tadić has three assists. As we've written here previously, he is a productive player in terms of goalscoring and providing assist. Expect Tadić to add to his 26 caps and six goals with the national team as they take on Armenia and Albania in the Euro qualifiers.
Mayuka hasn't had a lot of chance to prove himself this season especially considering Pellè's form. But the 23-year old is a key part of Zambia's national team and he helped them to their first Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) triumph in 2012. He will likely be the first choice for Zambia's upcoming AFCON 2015 qualifiers, a double header against Niger.
Wanyama has forged a solid partnership with Schneiderlin in Southampton's midfield, generally staying back as he tried to break up the opposition's attack. But he's equally capable in offense, as he showed when he scored the winner against Swansea City ager coming on as a sub. Wanyama (31 caps, one goal) is the captain of the national team and will lead his side against Morocco in Sunday's friendly.
The last signing in the summer transfer window, Mané have only appeared three times for The Saints due to work permit issue. But in limited appearances he has shown why Koeman spent £11.8m for his signature, he won a penalty against Arsenal in the League Cup (which was converted by Tadić) and followed that up with an assist against QPR. Senegal will be happy to have his service in the AFCON qualifiers doubleheader against Tunisia.
Matt Targett & Harrison Reed
Saints' pair of Targett and Reed has been included in England U20s squad that will participate in the four-nations tournament in Holland where they will play three times in the space of five days, going against Germany, Netherlands, and Turkey. Targett has four caps at this level while Reed has been capped once for the U20s, both have also appeared for the U19s.
21-year old goalkeeper, Cody Cropper, has been called up by USA U23s for a friendly against Brazil U23s. He is one of five players based in England to be included in the squad.