Vladimir Petković has named a fresh new squad ahead of the upcoming international fixtures, the first after the controversy that saw two national team players retire.
The twenty-four man squad was named earlier today, the first one in years without senior players Valon Behrami and Gelson Fernandes, who both retired earlier this month amid reports that Petković had told them they were no longer wanted in the team. Thankfully, not all the rumours are true, as defender Johan Djourou and captain Stephan Lichtsteiner have been once again named in the team, with the latter being quick to say that he wanted to continue representing Switzerland and didn’t want to stop anytime soon.
There are six total changes from the World Cup squad in Russia, with players such as Blerim Džemaili and Michael Lang losing their places.
Soon after the retirement of Behrami and Fernandes, Vladimir Petković announced that he wanted to give more young players opportunities on the international stage, with the new UEFA Nations League and friendly games coming up. He has certainly done that with his latest squad, with a batch of young players coming into the squad. These include Djibril Sow (21), Edimilson Fernandes (22) and Denis Zakaria (21). They join an already young Schweizer Nati squad, featuring the likes of regulars Manuel Akanji (23) and Breel Embolo (21).
There are just two uncapped players joining the team, both playing in the Swiss Super League. 21 year-old Albian Ajeti of FC Basel and 23 year-old Kevin Mbabu of BSC Young Boys both return after being cut from Switzerland’s 26-man World Cup preliminary squad.
The team features players that play across seven European countries; including four of the traditional big five leagues (the exception being La Liga). There are thankfully far more players who play their trade in the Swiss Super League in the squad this time, in contrast to the one player in Switzerland’s World Cup squad; Michael Lang, then of FC Basel but now Borussia Mönchengladbach.
It is very positive to see how many Swiss players are now playing in big European leagues. There are several players at clubs in the Premier League, Serie A and the Bundesliga, as well as young talent continuing being nurtured in Switzerland.
The squad has been selected for Switzerland’s two September matches; the inaugural Nations League tie against Iceland in St. Gallen and a friendly against England in Leicester.