Nathan Redmond and James Ward-Prowse have both been named in Gareth Southgate’s senior England squad for the forthcoming games against Germany and Lithuania.
The Southampton duo are included for the first time and join fellow Saints men Fraser Forster and Ryan Bertrand in Southgate’s first pick of the national team at this level for the games on 22nd and 26th March.
Redmond and Ward-Prowse are both well known to Southgate from their time together in the England Under-21 set-up where Redmond held 34 caps and Ward-Prowse on 27.
This is a significant milestone for both men, whose careers at international level have mirrored one another’s since their breakthrough at Under-17s, with Redmond - who is eight months senior to Ward-Prowse - having also played regularly while at previous clubs Birmingham and Norwich.
Redmond’s move to St Mary’s last summer was seen as an opportunity to take the next step in his international career, and having played 38 times across all competitions so far this season, the converted forward has scored six times.
Ward-Prowse’s call-up meanwhile, is another feather in the cap for Southampton’s flourishing academy. Last year he captained England’s Under-21 side to their first Toulon Tournament success since 1994, while he’s also scored six times since his first appearance at that level in 2013.
This season has also been a significant one at Saints for the midfielder, who has played in 33 games, including a start in last month’s EFL Cup final at Wembley.
Redmond and Ward-Prowse were each nominated for the England Under-21 Player of the Year award in 2016, with Redmond eventually taking the prize, and now both men will continue their rise through the ranks together in the national team.
This will also be the first time Southampton have had four players in a senior England squad since 2014 when Jay Rodriguez, Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana were called up for a friendly against Denmark.
That game also saw three Saints academy graduates take to the pitch at the same time with Shaw and Lallana joined by Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, footsteps that Ward-Prowse will be aiming to follow in.
Southgate’s England travel to Dortmund to face Germany in a friendly at Signal Iduna Park next week before hosting Lithuania at Wembley in their World Cup 2018 Group F qualifier four days later.
Redmond, Ward-Prowse, Forster and Bertrand will link up with the England squad following Southampton’s Premier League game at Tottenham on Sunday.