Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori were rewarded for a fine start to the season under Frank Lampard with a call-up to the England squad on Thursday for Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
Abraham, who has won two caps for the Three Lions before in friendlies against Brazil and Germany in 2017, had flirted with switching his international allegiance to Nigeria, who he qualifies for through his father.
However, the 22-year-old, who scored his first Champions League goal for the Blues in a 2-1 win in Lille on Wednesday, now looks set to declare for England.
Abraham has scored seven times in seven Premier League games so far this season.
“It was (an easy decision), he’s the leading English scorer in the league,” said Southgate.
“It’s brilliant the opportunity he’s been given by Frank, along with other English players at Chelsea, that’s been fabulous for them and great reward for their academy. It’s a great chance for Tammy.
“He’s always scored goals with our junior teams, with the Chelsea youth teams, on loan in the Championship consistently and now he’s really grasped this opportunity at the beginning of the season, so it’s thoroughly well-deserved.”
Tomori, who could also represent Nigeria and Canada at international level, has also shone at centre-back for Chelsea after playing under Lampard on loan at Derby last season.
Should either Abraham and Tomori feature in the upcoming qualifiers, they would no longer be allowed to switch international allegiance.
“I don’t think it’s ethically right to select someone just to make sure he can’t play for somebody else,” added Southgate. “The two boys Fik and Tammy are in on merit.
“They’ve both been part of our youth system, Fik came in a bit later but he was part of the team that won the (Under-17) World Cup.
“As far as we’re concerned they’re English players. I’m sure they have huge desire to play for England at senior level.”
The emergence of a host of young players, though, has come at the expense of some of the stars of a run to the World Cup semi-finals 15 months ago.
Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli and Kyle Walker have all been left out.
The Three Lions travel to face the Czech Republic in Prague on October 11 before a trip to Sofia to take on Bulgaria four days later.
England are in a commanding position to qualify for next year’s European championships after winning all four of their opening qualifiers.
Squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Nick Pope (Burnley), Tom Heaton (Aston Villa), Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez (both Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea)
Midfielders: Ross Barkley, Mason Mount (both Chelsea), Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice (West Ham), Harry Winks (Tottenham), James Maddison (Leicester), Fabian Delph (Everton)
Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford, (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)