Many football fans bemoan international breaks when they roll around, especially when they come at this stage of the season, interrupting the domestic campaigns and risking injury to key players from clubs big and small.
But this international break offers the chance to see some of football’s most in-form players represent their countries in key fixtures, all hoping they will be able to replicate their recent club performances when they join up with their national sides.
We’ve picked out eight players well worth watching before the club action resumes.
Leon Goretzka – Germany
The 22-year-old former Bochum man was Germany’s outstanding performer at the Confederations Cup this summer, scoring three times to help Joachim Löw’s men lift the trophy despite taking an understrength squad.
Athletic, powerful and technically skilled, Goretzka impacts all phases of play and is capable of joining the attack to score. He’ll be hoping to add to his ten senior caps against Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan.
André Silva – Portugal
As one of the big-money signing of AC Milan‘s busy summer, much is expected of Portuguese striker Silva at the San Siro. And, thus far, he has delivered with six goals from nine outings in all competitions for his new club.
The €35million 22-year-old is fast, agile, a fine dribbler and deft finisher. His adaptability and inventiveness make him a good foil for Cristiano Ronaldo in the Portuguese attack.
With a tremendous strike rate of nine goals from 15 caps, you wouldn’t back against the former Porto star reaching double figures for his country against Andorra and Switzerland.
Lorenzo Insigne – Italy
Napoli are flying in Serie A, topping the table with a 100 per cent record and playing the most attractive football in Europe. Insigne, the Partenopei‘s diminutive inverted winger, has played no small part in Maurizio Sarri’s side’s early-season dominance.
The 26-year-old has four goals to his name already this term as part of a thrillingly dynamic front three, alongside Dries Mertens and José Callejón. And he’ll be hoping to break the 20-goal barrier again this season, just as he did in 2016/17.
Italy take on Macedonia and Albania, and Insigne will be key to Gian Piero Ventura’s men’s hopes of securing six points.
Kieran Tierney – Scotland
Reportedly a Manchester United transfer target, Celtic’s hugely impressive young full-back Tierney looks destined for a bright future in the game.
Every challenge he has faced so far in his fledgling career he has taken in is stride, and International football has proven no problem for the 20-year-old.
Fast, intelligent and capable of dangerous deliveries into the box, the young defender will be one of Gordon Strachan’s key weapons when Scotland take on Slovakia and Slovenia; two wins will go a long way towards booking at least a play-off place.
Ciro Immobile – Italy
After a rough couple of years at Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla, Immobile returned to Serie A on a permanent basis in the summer of 2016 and he hasn’t looked back since.
The former Torino man notched an impressive return of 26 goals for Lazio last season, and he is already half way to matching that figure this term, after just ten appearances.
Immobile hopes to form a prolific partnership with Andrea Belotti at next year’s World Cup, and he’ll be among the first name’s on Ventura’s team sheet if his current form continues.
Leroy Sané – Germany
Germany have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to young attacking talent, but Manchester City winger Leroy Sané deserves to feature heavily for Löw’s side in the upcoming fixtures due to his fine club form.
The lightning-quick 21-year-old has scored five goals in ten games this term and looks increasingly like being a key figure in the Premier league title race, as City are neck-and-neck with local rivals United.
Sané has six caps to his name but is as yet scoreless for his country; expect him to put that right very soon.
Florian Thauvin – France
Most Premier League fans will have memories of Thauvin as a disappointing £15million signing for Newcastle United – if they even remember him at all. But the gifted attacking midfielder, still only 24, should not be characterised by his underwhelming spell on Tyneside.
Since returning to Ligue 1 with Marseille, the creative wideman has been outstanding, scoring some sublime individual goals and creating a steady stream of chances for colleagues.
He earned his first international cap for France back in March, and is preferred to Manchester United‘s Anthony Martial in Didier Deschamps’ squad to face Bulgaria and Belarus.
Paulo Dybala – Argentina
Argentina face the very real prospect of not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, currently sitting fifth in the South American table, just one point ahead of Chile and two clear of Paraguay.
The hopes of the nation rest largely on five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi’s shoulders. But in Dybala, Jorge Sampaoli is able to call upon the only other forward in European football whose current form can match that of the Barcelona maestro.
The 23-year-old has scored an incredible 12 goals in ten games for Juventus so far this season, but is yet to open his account in ten outings for his country. A goal or two against either Peru or Ecuador would be huge boost for Argentina.