The monotonous fortnight that is the international break is sadly upon us. Mindless articles flood your newsfeed dedicated to working out an eleven worthy of beating Bulgaria, whilst work talk shifts from Matty Longstaff’s magnificent strike to whether Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard should be anywhere the England team (they shouldn’t). It really is a dark time. We’ve decided to look ahead, to the EURO’s no less, and how our Lions can drive themselves onwards to an international trophy.
To keep or not to keep?
Who goes in goal in England’s EURO 2020 team? Who stops those last minute shots, clutches the ball to their chest and feigns an injury? Jordan Pickford seems like the safe option. His heroics against Colombia have him firmly in the heart of the nation but two years on, is he the best we have?
A catalogue of errors in recent times combined with good performances from competing goalkeepers must have Pickford watching his back. But who would be better?
Alternatives: Tom Heaton, Alex McCarthy and Ben Foster.
At the age of 36, Ben Foster is still a mighty fine goalkeeper. Now plying his trade for Premier League Watford, Foster is without doubt a top class shot stopper. However, with age against him, does Southgate vie for someone slightly younger between the sticks?
Perhaps the most likely, Tom Heaton is also approaching his mid 30s but is certainly the one pushing the most to stake a claim for the number one shirt. Borderline world-class performances for Burnley and now Aston Villa have him firmly on Southgate’s radar.
At one point in time, Southampton’s Alex McCarthy was the new kid on the block, the guy to take England to victory but average displays have slowly dropped him down the list. More to come I’m sure.
Looking at our recent piece on fullbacks, as well as Kieran Trippier’s unnecessary escapade to central Spain, Ben Chilwell and Trent Alexander-Arnold seem certain to start in England’s EURO 2020 squad; Aaron Wan-Bissaka the only one who could argue.
As for central defenders, Harry Maguire is a certainty, but who accompanies him? Joe.co.uk have John Stones alongside our ‘slabhead’, which sounds and feels right, but Tyrone Mings’ recent emergence following injury spouts at Bournemouth and Lewis Dunk’s fine form could beg to differ. Dunk has made the 8th most passes so far this season, a trait that definitely favours Southgate’s style of play. England’s next John Terry is still up for grabs but we’ll have to see how the Premier League plays out before making a solid decision.
Tricky decisions in the midfield
It may be seen as contentious but Declan Rice HAS to be starting for England. 5th in the league for tackles and the ability to break lines gives Rice a unique advantage ahead of ‘less mindful’ players (I’m talking to you Champions League Jordan Henderson).
Where do we go next in this theoretical 4-3-3? With Rice at the base it’s only right that we have a more advanced midfielder along side him. Enter James Maddison. What a season this boy is having. The equaliser against Liverpool at Anfield and a free-kick ability Juninho may even be proud of, what surpises me about Maddison is his down to earth nature. Not every English attacking midfielder can say that…
The final place in that three is a free for all and I really couldn’t say who could play there, who can balance the side to completion, so I’ll leave it up to you. Comment underneath who you think deserves that spot in Gareth Southgate’s England EURO 2020 XI! Let’s debate.
A straightforward front three
Sterling. Kane. Sancho.
A direct Raheem Sterling surpasses Eden Hazard at this point in time and sneaks him a comfortable distance beneath the aliens that are Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. He doesn’t necessarily get the chance to do it in Pep Guardiola’s system but we have seen glimpses for England and I like what I see. Pace and finally an end product.
Harry Kane with Tammy Abraham as backup is a must for Southgate in England’s EURO 2020 side. Despite being out of form in a disparate Tottenham side, he still is one of the best number nines in the world and deserves to start. Jadon Sancho is now much the same, a real talent. This was the easiest decision to make but who knows how it could change when next year comes around. One could only imagine.
My England EURO 2020 Starting XI
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