Luke Turner takes a look at those hitting the international stage this summer…
The summer months usually give the opportunity for players to take a well earned break following nine months of intense Sky Bet Championship action.
However, a few of our players will not get this luxury as they have been called up to their respective international squads to represent their countries.
We heard the good news yesterday that David Cotterill has been included in the Wales squad for the upcoming European Championships in France.
His form towards the end of the season for us was excellent and he is certainly worthy of a spot in the squad. There may have been a few doubts when he was injured earlier on in the season but he looks to have put any niggling issue to bed. It will be great to see a Blues player represent their country on such a big stage and he has the quality from dead ball situations to trouble any defence. If he steps up to take a free kick against England then I know for sure that Joe Hart could be seriously tested. He has worked hard for this chance so I hope he takes advantage of it. Games against Russia, Slovakia and England will only make Cotts a better player and the experience for him this summer will hopefully be an incentive to kick on and continue to perform well for us next season.
Another player who has work to do over the summer is Clayton Donaldson. He is in the Jamaica squad who will be playing at the Copa America tournament hosted in the United States. The Blues striker got off to the perfect start as he netted in the 2-1 friendly win against Chile last week. His international bow has arrived late in his career but he is certainly making up for lost time by taking his chance now. He will pit his wits against Venezuela, Mexico and Uruguay in the tournament which will be a real test for him but one which he will take in his stride and no doubt enjoy.
Jacques Maghoma is also one to pull on his national shirt this summer. He was called up to the DR Congo squad for the friendly against Romania. He wasted no time in making an impact as he provided the assist for his side’s goal in the 1-1 draw last Friday.
Cotterill and Donaldson are perhaps Blues` two most influential players at the top end of the pitch so it is no surprise to see that they have been rewarded with games at national level. The only concern is the distance that the likes of Donaldson and Maghoma have to travel for these games. We saw during last season that Donaldson picked up an injury whilst on international duty which was quite costly for us. But, I suppose injuries can happen anywhere and I for one am certainly proud that the players are getting these opportunities. It shows that they are doing something right and also Blues are helping them with the development of their careers!
Stay tuned for Part Two where we take a look at what’s to come for Nicolai Brock Madsen and Viv Solomon-Otabor this summer!