England announce squad for UEFA Euros
Gareth Southgate, the England manager, has already announced his 33-man provisional squad for the UEFA Euros a while back. With a new generation of exciting youngsters coming through, the team was bound to be filled with a plethora of talent.
But having such a big squad is not all rosy. There will be big decisions to make and some of the biggest names in the country would have to settle for a place on the bench at times. The 33-man provisional squad currently includes:
Deciding on the best XI
This is where things get tough. England are yet to taste success in the Euros when it comes to lifting the trophy and many would feel that this is a great chance to finally break that duck considering the level of talent in the squad.
Two English clubs in Manchester United and Manchester City even made the finals of two of UEFA’s biggest club competitions this season. So English football is doing well and there are also players like Jadon Sancho making ripples outside the country’s borders.
Considering England’s matches in 2021 (against Poland, Albania, and San Marino), Southgate has fielded a 4-3-3 formation. So it is likely that we get to see that set-up in the Euros as well. Keeping that in mind, let us look at the best starting XI that Southgate could field:
Strongest England XI for Euros
Dean Henderson (GK)
It is likely that Dean Henderson and Jordan Pickford could fight it out for the No.1 spot. Henderson has given David de Gea strong competition at United this season and the former Sheffield United star should be between the sticks for England.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB)
This is the position that is dividing opinions everywhere about who should start. England have a plethora of options here but Trent Alexander-Arnold is too good to not start. He was tied second for most assists by a defender in the Premier League this season and hence, would a great creative outlet.
Harry Maguire (CB)
Harry Maguire had a disappointing end to his league campaign with an injury but he could be back in action by the time Euros commence (h/t Daily Mail). United’s ‘captain and leader’ at the back has assumed that same role for the Three Lions recently and is a sure starter.
John Stones (CB)
There are a number of options to pair alongside Maguire, but no one seems a better fit for the second centre-back spot than John Stones. The 27-year-old made 35 appearances in all competitions this season for a Manchester City side that was just one game away from doing the treble.
Ben Chilwell (LB)
You know there is a tough competition for places when someone like Aaron Creswell was left out completely. England’s starting left-back should be Ben Chilwell, as the Englishman has done well to compete with Marcos Alonso at Chelsea and made 42 appearances for this year’s UCL winners.
Declan Rice (DM)
There is no one better suited for this position than West Ham United’s bullish midfielder, Declan Rice, who should start ahead of his competition Kalvin Phillips.
Jordan Henderson (CM)
Jordan Henderson was out for much of this season with an injury but he recovered in time to be named in England’s provisional squad. The vice-captain is expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet.
Mason Mount (CM)
The versatile Mason Mount, who shone in the UCL final with an assist, gets this spot. He has impressed tremendously at Chelsea this season and Southgate should start him alongside Henderson.
Raheem Sterling (LW)
Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling have competed for much of this season at City for a starting spot in Pep Guardiola’s team, but both deserve starting for the England national team. We go with Sterling on the left-hand side.
Phil Foden (RW)
To be trusted by someone like Guardiola at the age of 21 is evidence enough of a player’s quality, which is why Phil Foden should start ahead of the likes of Marcus Rashford on the right flank.
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Harry Kane (CF)
This is probably the one position that Southgate would have no confusion about. England’s captain and this season’s Premier League Golden Boot and Playmaker award, Harry Kane, gets this spot.