Former West Ham star Joe Cole says current United and ex-Hull City winger Jarrod Bowen can step up for England
The 25-year-old has shone for David Moyes’ Hammers this season and would have been called up by the Three Lions in March was it not for a foot injury.
Bowen scored 18 goals in all competitions and provided 13 more during a memorable campaign that is set for an unforgettable conclusion, having been included in the England squad for the first time.
Ex-West Ham star Cole is excited to see his debut in the upcoming Nations League fixtures and believes the former Hull City man has the attributes to succeed at international level.
“For Jarrod Bowen and James Justin, I think it’s going to be a massive moment for them in their respective journeys,” he said. “They’ve come a long way, Jarrod in particular. He’s come from Hull to West Ham and he’s been outstanding this year. He really, really deserves it and he’s a good lad.
“I think he could be one of them that takes to being in an England shirt, I really do.
“For certain players, the shirt is too heavy.
“I think Jarrod Bowen, just from the little I know him, I’ve interviewed him a few times, [will wear] the shirt well. I am really looking forward to seeing him in an England shirt.”
Bowen has broken into the international set-up at just the right time given the World Cup in Qatar is only five months away.
The winter tournament has led to a rejigged international schedule that means England will play four matches in just ten days this month, starting with Saturday’s trip to Hungary.
It is an intense burst of fixtures in the penultimate camp before Qatar and Cole, a veteran of four major tournaments, believes Gareth Southgate will gain a lot from it.
“Gareth will probably be using it as a dry run for the World Cup,” the 56-cap former midfielder said. “He’ll be having a look at players - obviously certain players have been left out for physical reasons.
“I think it’s actually a good opportunity because you get to see how the players operate when they’re away for a large period of time. And the games are competitive, which really helps.
“I think that’s so important. I mean, I like the Nations League and I like the idea of a bit of competition.
“Every time you pull on an England shirt it should be competitive, it should be something to fight for.
“I just think that Gareth is going to have to look at a few players, he needs to decide on his system and who he is going to use in certain parts of the game.
“I think Gareth will be absolutely buzzing that he’s got the players for this amount of time and he can really put the foundations in for the World Cup.”
Cole was speaking ahead of Soccer Aid for UNICEF on June 12, when the West Ham youth product will step out at the London Stadium for the first time.
“I’ve never played at the Olympic Stadium so it’ll be a first for me,” said the 40-year-old, who was with the Hammers when they confirmed the stadium move.
“I am really looking forward to that.
“It’s a great way to raise money that goes to a great cause and it’s great fun. It’s one of them things which is a win for everyone.”
Harvey Elliott has pulled out of England Under-21s’ crunch qualifier with Czech Republic after testing positive for Covid.
The Liverpool midfielder, who only joined the squad on Tuesday, has now returned home and will miss Friday’s Euro 2023 qualifier in Ceske Budejovice.
Tottenham’s Ryan Sessegnon has already withdrawn with a back problem while Chelsea’s Levi Colwill, who spent last season on loan at Huddersfield, is also out with a hip injury.
“Harvey has Covid but we’re hoping he joins up with us later,” said boss Lee Carsley.
“He came in here, had his dinner and woke up the next day with a sore throat and a headache.
“Sess has played a lot of minutes and was managing a back complaint. Levi misses out completely with his hip.”
England Under-21s are three points behind Group G leaders Czech Republic with two games in hand.
They beat them 3-1 in Burnley in November and also face Albania, Kosovo and Slovenia in their final group games this month.
Carsley said: “When you’re doing the welcome meeting and putting up the league table, it’s almost as if the players go, ‘woah, we’re back here and we’re second’.
“It’s game on. That’s the challenge. If you go up to the seniors, you’re going to get games like this.
“I’ve told them this is just a stop, not their final destination.
“They are physical, we noticed that in the first game. The scoreline maybe flattered us a little bit, we were good in patches and I will expect us to have to play a lot better to beat them.
“I thought the build up to the Czech Republic (in November) was good, the focus of the lads was excellent. There was a different intensity then and I’ve noticed it in this camp as well.
“This one has been challenging, some have been on holiday, some have just finished, some have had more time off than others. They are in all different stages.”