With the World Cup in Russia kicking off on Thursday, we takes a look at three players in England’s second tier who are playing in the World Cup and could make an impact for their respective countries.
Kamil Grosicki (Hull City & Poland):
Hull winger Kamil Grosicki will be keen to guide Poland to success in Russia this year, as at the age of 30, it may be his last chance to play in a major tournament. Although Grosicki’s spell at Hull City has been a frustrating one, being unable to prevent relegation to the Championship in 2017 and being a part of a frustrating 2017/18 season for the Tigers back in the Championship, the 30 year-old is a consistent performer for his country.
The former Rennes player contributed three goals in Poland’s World Cup qualifying campaign, and was also a key player for Poland’s boss Adam Nawalka’s side in Euro 2016, assisting goals for Jakub Błaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski in the knockout rounds. A successful World Cup for Grosicki could be beneficial for Hull City’s finances too, amid reports that Hull are ready to cash in on him this summer.
Cheikh N’Doye (Birmingham City & Senegal):
Chiekh N’Doye was a key part of Birmingham City’s midfield last season, making 40 appearances in all competitions for the Blues, and he has the ability and experience to be a key part of Senegal’s midfield in Russia this summer.
The 32 year-old will be looking to add to his 22 senior international appearances, but competition for places is fierce in Senegal’s midfield. N’Doye will have to show his worth ahead of West Ham’s Cheikhou Kouyate (who may be deployed as a centre back) and Stoke City’s Pape Alioune Ndiaye for a spot in Senegal’s central midfield, with Everton’s Idrissa Gueye seemingly being a guaranteed starter.
If N’Doye is selected, he can provide balance for Aliou Cisse’s Senegal outfit, allowing the attacking talent of Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, and AC Milan’s Mbaye Niang to thrive. Group H looks like it is going to be a tight one, with any one of Senegal, Poland, Japan and Colombia having a realistic chance of progressing. Therefore, it is key for Senegal to achieve a balance between attack and defence if they are to progress to the knockout rounds.
Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic & Egypt):
Sam Morsy, who although born in England qualifies for Egypt as his father is Egyptian, was a key player in Wigan Athletic’s promotion back to the Championship. The 26 year-old made 41 league appearances for the Latics, thus being a key part of their midfield.
A defensive minded midfield player, Morsy could be key alongside Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny in protecting the defence in Egypt’s opener against Uruguay. Another quality the combative midfielder may bring to Egypt is his leadership skills, having captained Wigan Athletic on numerous occasions. With talismanic star Mo Salah still doubtful for Egypt’s first game this Friday, Egypt may need a leader in the mould of Sam Morsy to drive them forward.
Which one of these three players do you think will make the biggest impact? Comment below or tweet us @AllOutFootball_ with the hashtag #AOF!