Bukayo Saka, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, and Daniel Ballard are all back in their national team squads for the upcoming international break.

fbl eur nations nir nor
Norway forward Erling Braut Haaland (L) and Northern Ireland defender Daniel Ballard on September 7, 2020. (Photo by PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate named a 29-man squad for the November break, given England have three fixtures to squash into seven days. Once again, Bukayo Saka and Ainsley Maitland-Niles made the list, just like in October.

For Maitland-Niles, this is actually his third consecutive call-up, so he’s clearly making a positive impression on Southgate. He had his full debut cut short by Harry Maguire’s red card against Denmark in October.

As for Saka, this is his second call-up, and his first chance to make a competitive appearance for his country. He started against Wales in England’s October friendly, but he won’t be locked in with England permanently until he plays a competitive game.

Despite currently serving a red-card suspension with loan club Blackpool, Arsenal academy defender Daniel Ballard is back in the Northern Ireland senior squad for the November break.

It’s one of those funny quirks of football that Ballard – who has never featured for the Arsenal first-team – is regularly playing against the likes of Erling Haaland with his country. He’s already up to three starts, and he’s likely to get more this month.

It’s not like he doesn’t deserve it either. Before the red card, Ballard won two Man of the Match awards in two appearances for Blackpool. One mistake to invite the sending off (a stray elbow in an aerial challenge) shouldn’t detract from his recent progress.