Euro 2020 is fast approaching and with that in mind, we’ve predicted the strongest starting XI that Gareth Southgate may utilise in the tournament next year.
England kick-off their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a home tie against Czech Republic under the Friday night lights of Wembley, before facing Montenegro at Podgorica City Stadium three days later.
There are a lot of fresh faces In the England camp with West Ham’s Declan Rice, Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi and Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse all called up after Fabian Delph, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, John Stones and Luke Shaw withdrew through injury.
The Three Lions enjoyed an unforgettable 2018, reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1990, and racking up victories over both Spain and Croatia en route to the Nations League finals as well.
England’s success in the Nations League has guaranteed them at least a playoff spot in Euro 2020 regardless of their performance in the qualifying stages, but Southgate will not want to use this summer’s tournament as a fall-back option.
Performances of late have seen England rise up to 5th in the world rankings and the team will undoubtedly be a firm favourite to reach the latter stages of Euro 2020.
Wembley Stadium is planned to host the semi-finals and final for the second time, having done so previously at the 1996 tournament.
Predicted XI to start at Euro 2020:
Jordan Pickford -
The hero of England’s penalty shoot-out victory over Columbia at the World Cup has struggled to replicate his international form at Everton and has been responsible for more errors (four) leading directly to goals than any other player in the Premier League this season.
However, The 25-year-old has earned the right to start for his country as his form in both the World Cup and Nations League was crucial to the success of the Three Lions in the past 12 months.
Trent Alexander-Arnold -
The 20-year-old wingback has been a key component in Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side this season, notching 6 assists and consistently displaying a maturity level well beyond his years.
The talented youngster has earned 5 caps for his country thus far, scoring his first international goal as England recorded a 3-0 win over the United States in November last year. Competition will arise from World Cup hero Kieran Tripper and Kyle Walker, but the enormous potential of TAA earns him the nod.
Joe Gomez -
After patiently waiting three years to finally be given his chance to shine at centre-back, Gomez was firmly grasping the opportunity handed to him by Jurgen Klopp.
The Reds conceded just four times in his 12 Premier League starts prior to the fractured leg he suffered in December.
Ankle problems, Achilles issues and a serious cruciate ligament injury have cost Gomez 96 games of his Anfield career so far, and brought his World Cup dreams to an end last summer.
The 21-year-old needs a clean bill of health but has all the necessary attributes to succeed at the heart of England’s defence.
John Stones -
The Manchester City centre-back has struggled mightily with injuries over the past few seasons. When fit, he is one of the most technically gifted defenders this country has ever seen, his composure with the ball, range of passing, vision and versatility are unrivalled but the 24-year-old needs to work on his durability.
Stones has earned 37 caps for his country and become a firm favourite of manager Gareth Southgate after a strong 2018 World Cup campaign. The Barnsley-born defender scored two international goals in a 6-1 victory over Panama during England’s second group stage match of the tournament.
Luke Shaw -
The highly-rated Manchester United left-back has been in supreme form for his club and appears to be thriving under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Norwegian club legend has given the 23-year-old freedom to run at opposing defences, utilising his pace and dribbling ability to create goal scoring chances for his United teammates.
Shaw has always possessed the raw talent and key attributes to lock down the left back jersey for England but fitness and injury issues have always held the talented defender back from fulfilling his true potential.
The Kingston-born defender has 8 caps for his country and will be one of the first names on the team sheet at Euro 2020 should his club form continue to improve as it has.
Jadon Sancho -
England’s youngest rising star has enjoyed a highly successful tenure at Borussia Dortmund since he signed for the German club in August 2017.
The 18-year-old winger has chipped in with 8 goals and 12 assists so far this season as Dortmund battle it out with rivals Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title.
Sancho made his debut for England as a 78th-minute substitute against Croatia on 12 October in a 0-0 away draw. Should he continue on his path of development in Germany, Southgate will have no choice but to include the mercurial talent in his Euro 2020 line up.
Declan Rice -
West Ham’s emerging star has cemented his first team status under Manuel Pellegrini after a string of dominating performance at the heart of the Hammers midfield.
On 13 February 2019, the 20-year-old pledged his future to England and on March 5, his change of allegiance was confirmed by FIFA.
Rice will be hugely influential on the success of England moving forward as his tireless defensive work from midfield will break up opposition advances and create a shield in front of the defence.
Dele Alli -
The Spurs young talisman has been a consistent performer for his club and helped them secure Champions League football the last two seasons.
The 22-year-old is widely considered one of the best young midfielders of his generation and has won PFA Young Player of the Year twice.
Alli has won 33 caps for England, scoring 3 goals and has been one of the key creative forces behind the success of club team-mate and captain Harry Kane.
Marcus Rashford -
The Manchester United striker has had a hugely successful season for his club and has been a crucial part of Solskjaer’s revival after a dismal start to the season under Jose Mourinho.
The 21-year-old Mancunian has earned 31 caps and scored 6 goals for his country and converted his penalty successfully in the round 16 shoot-out against Colombia.
Rashford was superb in the UEFA Nations League, scoring and assisting in a 3-2 away win against Spain and starting the final game against Croatia which saw England top their group and qualify for the Nations League Finals in June 2019.
Raheem Sterling -
The Manchester City winger has thrived under manager Pep Guardiola and has scored 15 goals in 27 Premier League matches this season. He has also chipped in with 9 assists as opposing teams struggle to deal with his pace and dribbling ability.
The 24-year-old is closing in on 50 caps for his country and although he has struggled in the past to replicate his club form on the international stage, his energy and attacking prowess will give nightmares to opposition defenders.
Harry Kane -
Tottenham Hotspur‘s home-grown superstar has become not only one of the most prolific goal scorers on the planet, but a leader who has earned the respect of his peers with his flawless demeanour on and off the pitch.
Kane has scored 20 goals in just 35 appearances for his country and will be leading from the front next year at Euro 2020 as the 25-year-old hopes to win the Golden Boot in successive tournaments.