We have finally reached a stage where our wide options are good enough to comfortably rule Shaun Wright-Phillips out of the equation and it feels good. The perpetual reign of Theo Walcott has given way to the world-class Raheem Sterling and let’s not forget Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi, both of which would be eligible to play in the 2023 U21 Euros, nevermind 2020.
The future is certainly bright and now Gareth Southgate has the increasingly challenging task of selecting who goes to, well, everywhere (not a fan of the “new” Euros). But do not fear, Mr Southgate, we’ll help you out…
I HAVE GONE WITH A 4-3-3 FORMATION
He may be as prone to a mistake as prime Shkodran Mustafi but Jordan Pickford certainly cemented his place in English hearts after his heroics against Colombia in last summer’s World Cup and there’s no doubt that, barring a heroic uprising from another keeper, the 25 year old will find his place once again. Tom Heaton has a shout as a perhaps safer option but some of the saves Pickford makes are match-winning.
Kyle Walker or Trent Alexander-Arnold? It’s a petty one really but since watching Will Grigg eviscerate Walker for pace in the FA Cup I have kept a close eye on the City full-back’s performances and I’m honestly not too impressed. Of course he should make the squad, but the starting eleven? I prefer the Scouser. TAA has an unrivalled, world-class crossing ability that makes Angel Di Maria quake in his boots. If he can work out his defensive positioning (comes with experience) he could dominate Europe in the right-back spot.
Aaron Wan Bissaka is also incredibly talented and could well be the main rival for TAA when it comes to Euro 2020.
I will be going for Harry Maguire and John Stones. In between his inflatable unicorn riding, Harry Maguire has been darn good for club and country. John Stones needs more game time but there is a quality player in there and we saw that in the World Cup. The duo share a composed nature on the ball that allows England to build from the back, a clearly desired trait from Southgate.
Michael Keane and the ever-improving Joe Gomez could also stake a claim but I can’t see them out doing old ‘arry and Stones.
It’s a two-horse race between Chilwell and Shaw and the Leicester man is well ahead in my eyes. A very capable defender as well as dangerous going forward, his reluctance to move away from Leicester has benefitted him greatly.
My initial notes read: “Rice – Dier is shite” and since coming back to this I can confirm I still hold this belief. My sole concern with choosing Declan Rice would be his inexperience so I am relying on the upcoming season to mould him into the player West Ham fans picture him to be. Otherwise it’s another international competition with a donut protecting our back line.
Left Central Midfielder
The man to fit the slightly further forward central midfielder as almost a mezza’la/fantasista could come as shock: James Maddison. It’s hard to make a judgement for most, especially when the majority of Leicester games are not broadcast for the masses, however, with a year to go, James Maddison is way too good to not be in the England squad.
Most chances created in Europe’s top five leagues (82) ahead of Hazard (74) and Messi (76), his omission from the March international side comes as a shock but mark my words; by 2020 next year, he will be one of the first names on the team sheet. I’m not going to lie, this was initally a tough decision, with Alli/Lingard/Barkley/Loftus-Cheek/Grealish and many more providing more than adequate competition, but Maddison exceeds them.
Right Central Midfielder
The safe option. He may not be technically be the greatest (far from it) but tell me this: When England inevitably concede a 6th minute back-post header to Slovenia and panic sets in, who’s going to calm down my very inexperienced midfield? Hendo is the answer. A strong voice both on the pitch and in the dressing room is vital for England’s young boys and there was no way the former Mackem was missing out.
For me, it’s a toss up between Sancho and Rashford for one side. Sterling may as well be engraved on Southgate’s teamsheet. The Boy with the Gun Tattoo has beaten off the abuse from the tabloids with his world-class performances and I can’t wait to see him improve.
Jadon Sancho. That is who I want playing on the right hand side. The dynamism and bravery to drive at backlines, combined with the bombadeering runs of TAA in behind will simply be too much for opposition defences. Why not Rashford you ask? He’s just lost that fearless hunger slightly. He’s a talent but over Sancho? Not for me.
Why bother, eh? Kane is one of the best strikers in the world and it’s fair to assume that he will only climb higher and higher. Backup wise it would be interesting to see if Tammy Abraham can stake a claim, although, similar to Grealish, he would have to do it in the Premier League. Callum Wilson is also an option…
Before you hurl unnecessary abuse towards me and my family, let’s just remember that this sort of stuff is the marmite of football and I would happily listen to any objections you have in the comments or on Twitter @TasteofFtbl. Thanks for reading!
P.S. Here’s my team in the form of a picture: