Euro 2020: Favourites England look to end long wait for tournament glory

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All three of their group games are at Wembley, as are the tournaments semi-finals and final, should they reach this stage. The fans in England have returned and Wembley could be at 50% capacity by the latter stages, further bolstering England’s chances. 

Group D: ENGLAND, Croatia, Scotland, Czech Republic
Manager:  Gareth Southgate
Odds (PP): 4/1
Recent Tournaments: World Cup 2018 (semi-finals), Euro 2016 (round of 16)
FIFA World Ranking: 4th

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Key Man

Harry Kane.

The 2018 World Cup golden boot winner has just had arguably his best club season to date, topping the Premier League charts in both goals and assists. He has also managed to stay injury free, which will delight England fans and Gareth Southgate. His leadership, finishing and all-round play will be pivotal to England’s tournament hopes. 

The Squad

Three English clubs competing in European vinals and injury doubts over some key players forced Southgate to delay his squad selection. Instead of the 26 names we eagerly awaited he named a provisional 33-man shortlist, which was cut by seven on Tuesday – omitting the likes of James Ward-Prowse, Ollie Watkins and Mason Greenwood, who withdrew due to injury.

West Brom’s Sam Johnstone, a shining light in their relegation campaign is named in place of Nick Pope, who will miss the tournament after undergoing knee surgery. He joins Jordan Pickford and Manchester United’s Dean Henderson.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, after plenlty of media speculation, was one of four right backs named along with Reece James, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker. However he sustained a thigh injury in Wednesday’s friendly victory over Austria, ruling him out of the tournament. His replacement in the squad is yet to be named. 

United skipper Harry Maguire is named despite concerns over his fitness. He sat out United’s Europa League final loss but could be back fit during the tournament, even if it means missing the opening few games. Joining him are John Stones, Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady. Kyle Walker and Reece James can also fill in at centre-back should Southgate opt for a back-three, which is now very possible with key defender Maguire out injured. 

As expected, Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell were selected as the left backs, with Bukayo Saka also covering there despite being named as a forward.

Declan Rice and Mason Mount are both selected in midfield and are certain to start after excellent club seasons. Both have impressed on international duty throughout the year too. Also included is 17-year-old Jude Bellingham after a fantastic season at Dortmund.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is named despite not playing since February. He was on the bench for their last game of the season but faces a battle to build up fitness before the tournament starts. Leeds’ Kalvin Philips was named but also faces a fitness battle having dislocated his shoulder in injury time in the last game of the season. Talk about bad luck!

Up front there is a recall for Jack Grealish, who only recently returned from a shin-injury which had sidelined him since February. Mason Greenwood misses out after withdrawing from the squad due to an underlying injury. Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were all named amongst the attackers, along with Arsenal’s versatile Bukayo Saka.

One to Watch

Jude Bellingham.

The youngster raised plenty of eyebrows last summer when he made the huge leap from Birmingham to Borussia Dortmund aged just 17. Many thought he would continue his development there, but few could have predicted him becoming a regular in the Dortmund side by the second half of the season, and even fewer would have had him their Euros squad. An all-round centre midfielder with good technical ability and athleticism, he earned a first England call-up and made his debut in March. With just five midfielders named in Southgate’s squad, Bellingham is set to feature more than we and him expected this summer. Fitness concerns over Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Philips mean Bellingham could yet start a few of the games. It will certainly not be the last time we see him with England at a tournament. 

Squad

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Bromwich Albion), Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Defenders: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City). Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool, INJURED, Replacement to be named)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds), Declan Rice (West Ham)

Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

The Author

Daragh Searing

Student and sports fanatic, aged 19. I availed of the extra time on my hands during the pandemic to get into sportswriting, something I've always had strong interest in. Man United fan but also a keen follower of Serie A & European football. Hoping to pursue a career in sportswriting, with Soccer and Rugby my areas of expertise. email: searingdaragh9@gmail.com

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