While this summer’s Copa America, Africa Cup of Nations and Gold Cup may have more significant ramifications for Fantasy managers in the first few weeks of 2019/20, there has also been a raft of European Championship qualifiers taking place over the last seven days.
Minutes played by Premier League players in early June will likely have little effect on their ability to feature in Gameweek 1 but any injuries picked up are worth monitoring.
Andrew Robertson was forced to miss Scotland’s 3-0 defeat to Belgium on Tuesday with a hamstring problem, the severity of which is yet to be determined despite some speculative reports suggesting he could be a doubt for Liverpool’s season-opening fixture in August.
Scotland head coach Steve Clarke said of the Liverpool left-back:
It’s disappointing to lose someone of Andy’s experience, certainly for a game like this.
He tried everything he could [to be ready], he did the training session last night, but he woke up and still felt it so no good.
There were some interesting quotes from Romelu Lukaku after that match, with the Manchester United striker saying of his future:
I have a contract with Man United. I’ll speak with my club and my agent Federico Pastorello to make the best decision.
I am going to enjoy my holidays with my family now. I know what I’ll do, but won’t say it. We’ll see. If I expect a busy summer? Yes.
Our group-by-group recap rounds up the key contributions made by any Premier League players in the European Championship qualifiers over the last week.
European Championship Qualifiers
In England’s group, Manchester City’s Ari Muric played the full 180 minutes as Kosovo took four points from away matches against Montenegro and Bulgaria.
Burnley’s Matej Vydra sat on the bench for the Czech Republic’s two victories over the same opposition. Chelsea’s Tomas Kalas also didn’t play a single minute.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, who we expect to be reclassified as an FPL defender next season, played 180 minutes for his country in his usual central midfield role as Ukraine picked up six points in wins over Serbia and Luxembourg.
Serbia were without the injured Nemanja Matic, while Luka Milivojevic continues to be overlooked after a fallout with national team coach Mladen Krstajić.
Leroy Sane‘s fine form for his country continued as he scored against both Belarus and Estonia.
The Manchester City winger opened the scoring for Die Mannschaft in Borisov as Germany ground out a 2-0 win, although Sane should have added gloss to the scoreline late on when striking the woodwork with a header.
Sane scored Germany’s final goal in an 8-0 thrashing of Estonia three days later, also setting up Serge Gnabry for his country’s second goal and seeing two other strikes disallowed for offside.
The winger played all 180 minutes of the two Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Sane has been strongly linked with a move to Bayern Munich but refused to comment on any transfer speculation after full-time.
Fellow Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan also found the back of the net in the demolition of Estonia, scoring from the spot after 26 minutes.
Gundogan was substituted after 53 minutes in that game, having had an 81-minute run-out against Belarus.
Antonio Rudiger‘s season-ending knee injury kept him out of the Germany camp, while Bernd Leno withdrew from the squad with a thumb problem.
Comments from Germany’s goalkeeping coach, Andreas Kopke, suggest the problem isn’t too serious:
I know that Bernd has had some pain in his hand recently. He is going to have a splint put on his thumb, so we won’t be able to play him in the two upcoming games.
Sheffield United’s Oliver Norwood wasn’t involved for Northern Ireland after a minor operation but there was plenty of Premier League representation for the Green and White Army as they kept up their 100% record in Group C.
Jonny Evans, Craig Cathcart and Norwich City’s Jamal Lewis all played 180 minutes in the Northern Ireland back four.
The Canaries’ goalkeeper Michael McGovern was an unused substitute in both matches.
Kasper Schmeichel, Andreas Christensen and Christian Eriksen played all 180 minutes of Denmark’s two Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Eriksen can’t get a look-in from 12 yards at club level but he continues to be the first choice for penalties with Denmark and the Spurs midfielder scored from the spot in the 5-1 win over Georgia, later wasting an excellent chance to add to his tally from open play.
Eriksen was relatively quiet in the 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland, having struggled to impose himself in the UEFA Champions League final earlier this month.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg also played 90 minutes in the thrashing of Georgia, having come off the bench as a 72nd-minute substitute against Ireland three days earlier to score the game’s opening goal.
Jonas Lossl, signed by Everton from Huddersfield Town this summer, and injured Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard weren’t part of the Denmark squad.
Matt Doherty didn’t play a single minute for the Irish, with Seamus Coleman very much Mick McCarthy’s preferred option at right-back: the Everton defender featured in all 180 minutes of their two Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Shane Duffy also lasted the course in both matches and highlighted his threat from dead-ball situations when nodding in an Alan Judge delivery to salvage a point against Denmark.
There was a strong contingent from newly promoted Sheffield United, with Enda Stevens playing all 180 minutes at left-back.
Centre-half John Egan didn’t make it off the bench but David McGoldrick played all but two minutes of the qualifiers against Denmark and Gibraltar, claiming a ‘Fantasy assist’ in the second match after his shot was deflected in by Joseph Chipolina.
Scott Hogan, who was on loan at Bramall Lane from Aston Villa in the second half of last season, played alongside McGoldrick against Gibraltar having made a cameo substitute’s appearance three days earlier.
Conor Hourihane lasted 172 minutes across the two fixtures, with Jeff Hendrick playing the entirety of both games alongside him in central midfield.
Hendrick’s Burnley teammate, Robbie Brady, was thrown on as a 73rd-minute substitute against Gibraltar and scored against the minnows in injury time.
Brady had played 66 minutes of the 1-1 draw with Denmark.
The injured Michael Obafemi, Shane Long, Kevin Long and Mark Travers weren’t involved, with McCarthy saying of the young Bournemouth goalkeeper’s problem:
It is an injury that Alan Kelly and the doc have never seen. He’s got to go back and get it repaired if he wants to be ready for the start of the season.
Shane Long withdrew from the squad after picking up a hamstring strain, while Kevin Long is nursing a calf injury.
Dejan Lovren played the full match as Croatia beat Wales 2-1 in Osijek.
The Liverpool centre-back also played the first half of a friendly against Tunisia three days later.
Aston Villa goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic sat on the bench in both fixtures.
Martin Dubravka played 90 minutes of Slovakia’s 5-1 win over Azerbaijan.
Wales slumped to successive away defeats to leave their Euro 2020 qualification hopes in serious peril.
There were at least promising signs from two young Welsh prospects, with Bournemouth’s David Brooks emerging from the bench to score a consolation goal against Croatia and new Manchester United signing Daniel James looking bright in defeat to Hungary.
Brooks and James played 98 and 169 minutes respectively over the last week.
Wayne Hennessey was between the posts for the losses in Croatia and Hungary, keeping Leicester City’s Danny Ward on the bench.
Ben Davies also played 180 minutes, with Chris Mepham getting a 90-minute run-out against Croatia.
Ethan Ampadu played 78 minutes across the two matches, while Neil Taylor was an unused substitute on both occasions and the injured Paul Dummett and James Chester missed out altogether.
Joshua King played the whole match as Norway drew 2-2 with Romania before the Bournemouth striker watched on from the bench as his nation won 2-0 against the Faroe Islands.
Mohamed Elyounoussi didn’t see a minute of pitch-time, while Aston Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland still wasn’t fit to return after an Achilles injury.
A groin problem kept Victor Lindelof out of Sweden’s squad, while there was no place for Watford’s Ken Sema.
Kepa Arrizabalaga suffered the indignity of conceding a goal to the Faroe Islands but the Chelsea goalkeeper was otherwise relatively untroubled as Spain won 4-1 against the Group F minnows and subsequently beat Sweden 3-0.
David de Gea watched on from the bench as Kepa played the full 180 minutes, while there was no place in the squad for Cesar Azpilicueta, Jonny or Marcos Alonso.
Marko Arnautovic played 179 minutes as Austria secured much-needed wins over North Macedonia and Slovenia.
The West Ham United striker had finished the Premier League season in decent form after a difficult 2019 and he scored twice in the 4-1 win in Skopje, with one of his goals coming from the penalty spot.
Sebastian Prodl wasn’t part of the Austrian squad this time.
Lukasz Fabianski and Jan Bednarek both kept two clean sheets and played 180 minutes as Poland kept up their 100% qualification record with wins over Israel and North Macedonia.
Brighton’s Beram Kayal started both of Israel’s matches, being substituted in the second half of each game.
A desperately poor France lost 2-0 in Turkey before going on to record a routine 4-0 win over Andorra three days later.
Paul Pogba played all 180 minutes across the two games and, reprising the deeper role he occupies for his country, didn’t manage a single shot from inside the opposition box.
Les Bleus, indeed, didn’t muster a single effort on target in Turkey, with Olivier Giroud hooked on 72 minutes after recording only one attempt on goal.
Giroud came off the bench in the final 17 minutes of the win over Andorra.
The only Premier League player to be involved in any of France’s goals was Kurt Zouma, who prodded home from close range following a corner.
Lucas Digne lasted only 45 minutes of the defeat to Turkey before being replaced at half-time, while Moussa Sissoko played 116 minutes across the two matches after his exploits in the Champions League final.
Hugo Lloris lasted the full duration of both matches.
Pogba, Digne and Zouma were also involved in a 2-0 friendly win over Bolivia on June 2.
Alexandre Lacazette, Anthony Martial and Benjamin Mendy were all overlooked by Didier Deschamps, while N’Golo Kante was forced to withdraw from the squad with a knee injury.
Gyfli Sigurdsson and Villa’s Birkir Bjarnason played all 180 minutes of Iceland’s victories over Albania and Turkey, while Johann Berg Gudmundsson started both matches before being substituted during the second half of each game.
The Burnley winger scored the winner against Albania.
Andrew Robertson completed 90 minutes of the win over Cyprus – scoring a rocket of a goal in doing so – before picking up the hamstring injury that kept him out of the defeat in Belgium.
Stuart Armstrong was another injury victim, hobbling off after 32 minutes in Brussels – the extent of the Southampton midfielder’s problem is yet to be determined.
Ryan Fraser replaced Armstrong in that match, testing Thibault Courtois with one of only two shots on target that Scotland could manage.
Fraser played the full 90 minutes against Cyprus three days earlier, providing the cross that Oliver Burke scored from at the second attempt.
Premier League central midfielders Scott McTominay, Scott McGinn and Kenny McLean played 101, 79 and 180 minutes respectively over the two matches.
Matt Ritchie and Robert Snodgrass again weren’t part of the national team set-up, while John Fleck was excused because of a clash with his wedding.
Kevin De Bruyne‘s FPL price next season will be interesting, given that he has had such an injury-ravaged campaign in 2018/19.
The Manchester City midfielder impressed against admittedly limited opponents in the form of Kazakhstan and Scotland, rifling in Belgium’s third goal against Clarke’s much-changed side and registering eight other shots.
De Bruyne had cracked the bar against Kazakhstan in the first Euro 2020 qualifier, producing another accomplished display from central midfield.
The same caveats about the quality of opposition that are given with De Bruyne also apply to Romelu Lukaku, who scored three goals over the two fixtures – all of which were from the edge of the six-yard box.
Lukaku, who was been prolific for his national team, missed several presentable opportunities along the way, including a tap-in against Scotland.
With Lukaku very much first choice for the one striking spot in Roberto Martinez’s 3-4-2-1, Michy Batshuayi had to make do with one 18-minute cameo. Divock Origi and Christian Benteke didn’t get any pitch-time whatsoever, meanwhile.
Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld each played 180 minutes at the heart of the Belgian defence, though Leander Dendoncker and Simon Mignolet didn’t make it onto the field.
Youri Tielemans lasted 100 minutes over the two games.
There is much hype surrounding Teemu Pukki after Norwich City’s promotion to the Premier League and the Finnish striker underscored his goal-getting ability with a brilliantly taken brace against Bosnia and Herzegovina, following up those two goals with a strike against Liechtenstein three days later.
Pukki played all 180 minutes of his country’s two fixtures.
Pukki’s teammate Mario Vrancic didn’t make it off the bench in either game for Bosnia, while Sead Kolasinac was a no-show because of injury.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan captained Armenia to Euro 2020 qualification victories over Liechtenstein and Greece, playing 180 minutes as a number ten but not getting on the scoresheet despite his side plundering six goals.
Arsenal teammate Sokratis lasted the course in both of his country’s matches, with his country losing 3-0 to Italy and 3-2 to Armenia.
Jorginho was the midfield fulcrum for Italy in the 4-3-3 system he is used to at Chelsea, with the Brazil-born ‘regista’ lasting 90 minutes in both fixtures.
Emerson Palmieri started both of his country’s matches at left-back, coming off after 68 minutes against Greece having earlier provided the assist for Leonardo Bonnucci’s goal.