International update: How Southampton's players are faring for their countries

From Basel to Bangkok- see which players are enjoying their temporary trips away from the South Coast, and which players are being left frustrated.

International update: How Southampton's players are faring for their countries
Dusan Tadic celebrates converting a penalty against Shane Long's Ireland. Photo: pa

There is no denying that compared to the breathtaking excitement of the Premier League, the current international break is slightly less enthralling.  

However, what is far more impressive and interesting is that with the dark days of failure, relegation and administration still a relatively recent memory, Southampton now have many players, across both the continent and the world, away with their countries as domestic football is put on hold for a bit.

With Claude Puel's side not off to the greatest of starts in the Premier League so far this season, fans will take plenty of heart in knowing that nine players from the squad are away on full international duty, reassuring the Southampton faithful that there is still plenty of world class talent on the South Coast.

So, here is a summary of what some of the Saints players have been up to during the first international break of the season. 

Euro kings return to action

Southampton captain Jose Fonte and right-back Cedric Soares returned to international duty for the first time since lifting the European Championships with Portugal under two months ago.

Europe's best footballing nation, in theory at least, began their reign with a comfortable 5-0 victory at home to Gibraltar last Thursday, in which the Saints duo were unused substitutes.  

Nonetheless, after both playing a crucial part in Portugal's success in the summer, Fonte and Cedric will be optimistic of getting some playing time for their country tonight as they begin their World Cup qualifying campaign against Switzerland in Basel

Fonte and Cedric were pivotal for Portugal in the summer, but did not feature in the European champions demolition of Gibraltar. Photo: Southampton FC.
Fonte and Cedric were pivotal for Portugal in the summer, but did not feature in the European champions demolition of Gibraltar. Photo: Southampton FC.

Saints civil war in Serbia

Southampton team-mates Dusan Tadic and Shane Long faced off against each other when their respective countries, Serbia and Republic of Ireland, did battle in Belgrade last night.

Both players where heavily involved during the entertaining 2-2 draw, with Long providing a neat assist to help Ireland open the scoring very early on. Midway through the second half, Tadic hit back with a coolly-taken penalty which led to the spoils, and bragging rights, eventually being shared. 

Long also played 45 minutes for his country last Wednesday, as Ireland secured a routine friendly victory against Oman.

Southampton keeper replaces Southampton keeper

Following Saints keeper Fraser Forster's withdrawal from the England squad through injury, it looked as if Southampton would be without a representative in the Three Lions' squad.

However, Forster's replacement was club team-mate Alex McCarthy, who was given his first national team call-up by new manager Sam Allardyce.

Despite this, McCarthy was overlooked for England's win in Slovakia last Sunday, and therefore is still awaiting is first cap with his country.

Fraser Forster’s pain was Alex McCarthy’s gain, as Southampton’s new keeper replaced his team-mate in the England squad. Photo: The FA.
Fraser Forster’s pain was Alex McCarthy’s gain, as Southampton’s new keeper replaced his team-mate in the England squad. Photo: The FA.

Other Southampton players on international duty

Steven Davis captained Northern Ireland in their 0-0 draw with Czech Republic in Prague last Sunday.

Virgil Van Dijk watched from the bench as his Netherlands went down 2-1 at home to Greece last Thursday. However, he is tipped by many to break into the starting XI tonight as the Dutch travel to Sweden.

Despite impressing on the South-Coast, centre-back Virgil Van Dijk is still unable to break into a struggling Netherlands side. Photo: Southampton FC.
Despite impressing on the South-Coast, centre-back Virgil Van Dijk is still unable to break into a struggling Netherlands side. Photo: Southampton FC.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg started both of Denmark's victories over Liechtenstein and Armenia. Maya Yoshida played every minute of both Japan's loss to United Arab Emirates and win over Thailand, as the Blue Samurai continue World Cup qualification.

Matt TargettJames Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond will all be hopeful of starting England Under-21's game against Norway later on this afternoon.