As we approach the start of a new international cycle following last year’s World Cup, every nation will have high hopes for future success.
After the tournament in Qatar, some nations are looking to rip it all up after a disastrous experience – see Belgium.
Others are just hoping to evolve slightly after positive displays that ultimately ended in disappointment – see Portugal and England.
While elsewhere, some nations are extremely happy and are just trying to keep the next generation of talent coming through – see World Cup winners Argentina.
However, the first international break since Lionel Messi lifted the iconic trophy has seen a whole host of new faces called up to squads across the globe as new-look teams plot the start of their path to glory.
After Argentina’s success in the World Cup, we are on the verge of a new international cycle
Brentford’s Ivan Toney is one of several stars who are likely to make their international debut
This includes Brentford star Ivan Toney who is expected to make his long-awaited international debut for England.
In light of that, Sportsmail has taken a look at nine other players who could make their international bows this week.
Brian Brobbey (Ajax) – Netherlands
After a World Cup campaign where the Netherlands lacked an out-and-out striker, with Memphis Depay, Cody Gakpo and Steven Bergwijn among those to form a makeshift front-two, Ronald Koeman potentially has the next great Dutch striker at his disposal.
Brian Brobbey has been promoted to the senior side after an impressive return of six goals in 12 caps for the Under-21 side.
With 11 goals in 25 Eredivisie games, the Ajax forward is enjoying a prolific season and at the age of 21, Koeman is likely to integrate Brobbey across their Euro 2024 qualifying period, especially with Cody Gakpo dropping out of their squad.
Ajax striker Brian Brobbey could make his Netherlands debut after Cody Gakpo pulled-out
Mateo Retegui (Tigre on loan from Boca Juniors) – Italy
Despite the well-publicised dearth of Italian strikers, the call-up of an uncapped Argentine forward who only qualifies for Italy due to his grandfather hailing from Sicily was still a huge surprise.
Mateo Retegui’s addition to Roberto Mancini’s options is likely to be a shrewd move however, with the Tigre forward the current top scorer in Argentina after also topping the goal charts last season.
Italy’s limited attacking options include the out-of-favour West Ham striker Gianluca Scamacca, meaning Retegui could be thrown straight in by the former Man City boss.
Mateo Retegui pledged his international future to Italy despite being born in Argentina
Joselu (Espanyol) – Spain
In what would surely be shock news to Newcastle and Stoke City fans – where he scored just 11 goals in 79 games – 32-year-old striker Joselu received his first call-up to Spain’s squad.
The Espanyol forward has been in fine form this season, netting 12 LaLiga goals – a tally that is only beaten by Robert Lewandowski and Enes Unal.
Despite his age, the Premier League flop could be a short-term solution to Spain boss Luis de la Fuente as he looks to deal with their seemingly chronic goalscoring troubles.
Former Newcastle and Stoke City flop Joselu earned his first Spain call-up at the age of 32
Kevin Schade (Brentford) – Germany
In perhaps a surprise decision from Hansi Flick – Kevin Schade – who joined Brentford on loan before an expected permanent move for a £20m club record fee in the summer, was picked by Germany this month.
With just one assist in eight games for the Bees, it is another sign of how highly-rated Schade is after Brentford committed to such a big deal for the winger.
Flick’s squad includes just Serge Gnabry as an experienced winger and after eight goals in 14 games for Germany’s youth teams, Schade could make his senior bow this week.
Brentford winger Kevin Schade could make his international bow for Hansi Flick’s Germany
Romeo Lavia (Southampton) – Belgium
In an otherwise tough season for Southampton, Romeo Lavia has been one of their brighter sparks since his summer move from Man City.
Lavia, 19, has already attracted interest from several big clubs like Chelsea and is destined to be a star of the future.
He received his first call-up from Belgium and as new boss Domenico Tedesco looks to begin a new era after the disintegration of their ‘Golden Generation’ following a disastrous World Cup, Lavia could well be a key part of it.
Romeo Lavia has the opportunity to stamp his mark on Domenico Tedesco’s new-look Belgium
Goncalo Inacio (Sporting Lisbon) – Portugal
The latest talented young Portuguese star, 21-year-old centre-back Goncalo Inacio will be familiar to Arsenal fans after helping to dump them out of the Europa League last week – where he scored in the penalty shootout.
Despite his tender age, he has already racked up more than 100 appearances for Sporting Lisbon and as a left-footed centre-back too, that only increases his appeal.
With Portugal’s defensive options still including 40-year-old Pepe, Inacio has a great chance of establishing himself as a key pillar of Roberto Martinez’s side over the next international cycle and beyond.
Sporting defender Goncalo Inacio will hope to break into Portugal’s experienced back-line
Khephren Thuram (Nice) – France
We have already seen one son of legendary France defender Lilian Thuram break onto the international scene in recent years, with Marcus Thuram having an impact on Les Bleus during the World Cup in Qatar.
Now Khephren – four years younger than Marcus at 21 – has been picked by Didier Deschamps following impressive performances for Nice this season in Ligue 1 and in their run to the Europa Conference League quarter-finals.
With experienced stars such as Hugo Lloris and Raphael Varane having retired since the tournament in Qatar, there is now the chance for the next generation of French players to step up as they look to bounce back from their World Cup heartache.
Khephren Thuram – brother of Marcus and son of the legendary Lilian – could debut for France
Maximo Perrone (Man City) – Argentina
After winning the Copa America and World Cup in successive years, there is no doubt a tough task is awaiting Man City youngster Maximo Perrone in his attempts to break into Argentina’s team.
However, for the midfielder – who moved to the Etihad for £8m in January from Argentine side Velez Sarsfield and and made his debut against Bournemouth last month – a call-up to La Albiceleste’s senior squad is another sign of how highly-rated he is across the globe.
In an expanded 33-man group selected by Lionel Scaloni, he may give minutes to some of his younger members.
This includes fellow uncapped midfielder Facundo Buonanotte of Brighton as Scaloni keeps an eye on the next generation of talent coming through.
Man City signed young Argentine midfielder Maximo Perrone for £8m from Velez Sarsfield
Andrey Santos (Vasco da Gama – on loan from Chelsea) – Brazil
One of nine Chelsea signings in January, you would be forgiven for having missed Andrey Santos among them with the Brazilian yet to join up with Chelsea’s first team.
A star in Brazil having broken through at Vasco da Gama, Santos scored a joint-top six goals in the Under-20 South American Championship this year as captain in the Selecao’s triumph, before returning to his former club on loan until the summer.
Tipped to be one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, interim head coach Ramon Menezes has selected just six midfielders in his squad – four of them uncapped – and Santos is likely to get minutes.
Brazilian wonderkid Andrey Santos is likely to get his first minutes for the Selecao this week
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