The groups have been drawn for the UEFA Nations League and some Newcastle players will be participating as they represent their respective nations in the new European tournament.
The first-ever UEFA Nations League draw took place in Lausanne, Switzerland on January 24. The UEFA Nations League is set to serve as a platform for European national teams to play more competitive football during the calendar year. The tournament will also enable some nations to qualify for the Euro Cup in 2020 through an alternative route.
The UEFA Nations League tournament is different from other traditional international tournaments that we are familiar with. The Nations League will entertain the idea of promotion and relegation between Leagues A, B, C and D.
Overall, the winner of each group in each league will earn promotion to the next league, while the nations that finish last in their groups will be relegated.
Magpies in the UEFA Nations League
Like many other clubs around the world, Newcastle United will have some representatives in the Nations League. Unlike elite European clubs that have a long list of stars playing for several European nations, the total number of Magpies that will play in the Nations League remains unclear due to some players not earning regular call-ups with their national teams.
We can expect that at least one player from each position will have the opportunity to represent their nations once or twice. The following players will either represent their nations for certain or will have the potential to earn a call-up as a result of their play this season:
Rob Elliot – Republic of Ireland
Ciaran Clark – Republic of Ireland
Matt Ritchie – Scotland
Aleksandar Mitrovic – Serbia
Jamaal Lascelles – England
Goalkeeper Rob Elliot and defender Ciaran Clark have been drawn in Group 4 of League B with Wales and Denmark. Matt Ritchie only has 14 caps with Scotland, but his play this season will surely grant him the opportunity to play alongside his countrymen in Group 1 of League C against Albania and Israel.
Aleksandar Mitrovic has been ignored by Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United, however, the striker is Serbia’s go-to man for scoring goals. Mitrovic will certainly play up front for Serbia in Group 4 of League C against Lithuania, Romania and Montenegro.
Last, but not least, there is Jamaal Lascelles. The young captain of Newcastle United has not received a call from England manager Gareth Southgate yet, but the Toon Army is confident that their skipper will play for the Three Lions. If Lascelles does receive a much-deserved invitation from Southgate, the defender would find himself playing in Group 4 of League A against Spain and Croatia.