After the heartache of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, it’s time to start believing England can lift a trophy again.
We’re less than six months away from the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship and securing a place in the squad will be at the front of many players’ minds as the Premier League season continues.
Some veterans are already nailed on to start, but this season has thrown up a few surprises and there could be a few new names on the team sheet come June 2021.
It’s best to review what professionals think ahead of Premier League fixtures, as the analysts really put the spotlight on domestic talents and give insightful previews into their influence on a match.
This is the kind of key information Gareth Southgate will be keeping an eye on as he considers his future team for the next major international tournament. In this article I’ll predict the starting XI for England’s first game of Euro 2020.
England’s Number One came under criticism last season, but has pulled out more consistent performances for Everton since the club brought in competition for him during the summer. Pickford is maturing in terms of decision making and composure, which can only benefit the country during international tournaments.
Pickford was first choice for Gareth Southgate when the Three Lions impressed fans with an unexpected fourth place finish in the last World Cup, and the Sunderland-born stopper is likely to remain between the posts for the next major competition if he can continue to be dependable on Merseyside.
Another England starter plying his trade on Merseyside is TAA. The marauding fullback was an integral part of the Liverpool side which romped home to its first Premier League title last season and the scouser looks set to continue his fledgling international career in the Euros.
England will look to use target men in attack so delivering accurate crosses will be key and Alexander-Arnold is among the world’s best. The 22-year-old broke his own record for assists by a defender in Premier League history last season, and with England having better options to head the ball than Liverpool, Trent will be paramount to the success of the national side.
The Manchester United captain is now an England regular with 30 caps to his name. The 27-year-old brings composure and experience to a youthful England defence, and is known to be an aerial threat from set-pieces.
The former mortgage advisor (yes, you read that right) and now Aston Villa stalwart was included in the last England squad and has been in scintillating form for the midlands side this season, propelling them into the frame for European football.
The 6’5’’ imperious centre half is dominant at the back and rarely loses a header, making him perfect in both defence and attack.
When Chelsea paid £50 million for Ben Chilwell in the summer, there were eyebrows raised about the fee for the young left back. Nobody is doubting the recruitment now though a the former Leicester man has netted twice and added three assists in his opening 10 fixtures for the Blues.
It’s not just his attacking prowess which impresses, he’s also developed his defensive positioning to enhance his team value even further.
Grealish is a pain for defences and once he’s got the ball, it’s almost impossible to get it off him. A dynamo of the dribble, last season Grealish became the most fouled player in a single top-flight English season ever as defences struggled to cope with his quick feet and feinting.
The Aston Villa playmaker has been in top form this season and is leading the club to a potential European football spot. His trickery could be exactly what England need to unlock tight defences or to win important freekicks.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson was named the 2019-20 Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers Association as he won the Premier League title with his club. The North- East born central midfielder brings experience and leadership qualities to a relatively young Three Lions side, and that will be integral in the latter stages of the tournament.
With only four England caps to his name, James Ward-Prowse will be a surprise addition to the England line up to many, but his form this season has seen him thrust into the conversation. Ward-Prowse has been the leading light for an overachieving Southampton side and his dead-ball expertise has made his inclusion mandatory.
With so many players capable of attacking accurate freekicks, it makes perfect sense to include Ward-Prowse in the team as he’s currently providing some of the best deliveries in the world, and has even just broken Matt Le Tissier’s record of most direct freekicks scored for Southampton in the Premier League.
Manchester City’s enigmatic winger is current England squad’s joint most capped player with 58 appearances and he’s a certainty to start on the wing. Able to attack defences with pace and use his agility to beat the offside trap, Sterling will trouble even the world’s best defenders.
DCL is the Premier League top scorer this campaign and his game has evolved dramatically over the past year. Since Carlo Ancelotti took charge of Everton 12 months ago, it’s clear he’s focussed on improving Calvert-Lewin’s repertoire.
The form and development of the promising striker has pushed Gareth Southgate to make a difficult decision on his chosen formation. Typically, the Three Lions play with just one striker leading the line and that position is reserved almost exclusively for captain Harry Kane. Southgate has stated that we may see that change to have Kane and DCL join forces in attack, and if their international form can match their club form, that could potentially be the most potent strike force the country has seen since Shearer and
As current England captain and biggest threat with 32 goals in 51 appearances, Harry Kane is not only a certainty to be in the team at the Euros, he’s also on track to overtake Wayne Rooney as the country’s all-time top scorer.