Now that Euro 2024 is less than three months away and just two games remain before Englands squad for the tournament is confirmed, Gareth Southgate will have a keen eye on some of his players during the friendly matches this week.

England play Brazil at Wembley on Saturday evening and then return to the national stadium to face Belgium three days later.

The FA’s choice of the nations ranked fourth and fifth in the world is no coincidence and the manager will see the matches as a good barometer for his regulars and a last-minute opportunity for credentials to be put forward by those on the fringes.

Aaron Ramsdale

Getty: Eddie Keogh
Getty: Eddie Keogh

There is no doubting that Jordan Pickford will go to the tournament as England’s No.1 but his deputyship remains there to be filled. Last season, Aaron Ramsdale was a regular for his club and a shoe-in for the England squad. But since his demotion at Arsenal, his place on the plane to Germany is hardly justified.

It is likely that Ramsdale will feature in at least one half of England’s two games this week and it would be the perfect opportunity to showcase his ability.

The 25-year-old is an excellent squad player — he continues to train well at Arsenal and supports his fellow goalkeepers — but has shown rust when recently playing in David Raya’s absence.

Had Nick Pope been fit, then Southgate would have more of a dilemma on his hands over which trio to take, instead the likelihood is that both Ramsdale and Sam Johnstone will go with neither of them ahead of the other in the pecking order.

Joe Gomez

Getty: Robbie Jay Barratt
Getty: Robbie Jay Barratt

It is four years since Joe Gomez was last called up for England duty, and now with a horrific run of injuries behind him and Raheem Sterling’s omission from the squad — the pair infamously clashed at a national team camp after a heated Liverpool-Manchester City game in 2019 — he has the chance to make up for lost time.

Perhaps Gomez’s greatest virtue is his versatility. The 26-year-old has underlined his adaptability when playing for Liverpool as a centre-back, right-back, left-back and, more recently, central midfielder.

Being comfortable in such a range of positions — particularly in defence were injuries could place even greater pressure on an already stretched unit — is surely something that Southgate will take note of given the reversion back to a 23-man squad for this tournament.

Although notoriously yet to score a goal in his professional career, his club manager, Jurgen Klopp, has been full of praise for Gomez and said that he had “saved our lives 20 times” this season.

Conor Gallagher

Getty: Visionhaus
Getty: Visionhaus

If fit, Conor Gallagher will be at the tournament with England; there is little doubt about that. But, it is not certain that he will start. Assuming Southgate sticks with a 4-3-3 formation, then there remains a place alongside Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham in midfield.

Given that Trent Alexander-Arnold is currently out injured — and Southgate may remain reticent on using him further forward anyway — this represents a good opportunity for Chelsea’s captain to stake his claim to that third midfield spot.

The 24-year-old has started just two of England’s last five games, has rarely made an impact when given the chance and is still yet to score for the senior team. However, he does provide energy in midfield and his performances have been a rare beacon of light for his club during a testing season.

Whether he is too similar in profile to Rice and Bellingham is debatable, but Southgate will want to try different options in his midfield as a replacement for the dropped Kalvin Phillips is sought — and there is no reason why Gallagher cannot be the one.

Ollie Watkins

Getty: Robin Jones
Getty: Robin Jones

Perhaps being Harry Kane’s No.2 is both one of the most important yet, hopefully, peripheral roles in the squad. Barring injury, the England captain will start every game in front of him — but there is the need for a dependable striker to step in when required.

Southgate has worked his way through many candidates during his tenure but it appears that he has settled upon Ollie Watkins and Ivan Toney as the two to battle it out for the spot when it comes to Euro 2024.

It was a tremendous show of faith to call up Toney despite the Brentford striker missing half this season due to a betting ban, but he is capable of taking a penalty and has slipped back into Premier League action like he never left it.

That said, on current form, Watkins is surely the favoured choice. It is unlikely that Southgate will take three strikers in total, and given the Aston Villa forward has amassed 22 goals and 10 assists in 39 appearances during an impressive season, it is his spot to relinquish.