Europe’s football party is finally set to get underway in a few weeks time – only a year later than originally scheduled.
Euro 2020 will kick off in Rome on 11 June when Italy take on Turkey.
That will signal the start of a continent-wide bonanza of football with as many as ten countries set to host matches.
England’s campaign begins with a clash against Croatia at Wembley as Gareth Southgate’s side look to right he wrongs of that painful World Cup semi-final defeat in 2018.
As you’d expect with the tournament on the horizon, experts and fans alike are trying their hand at predicting the team Southgate will send out to sing ‘God Save the Queen’ on 13 June.
However, we may not need to look any further than England legend-turned-pundit Alan Shearer’s picks.
The former Newcastle hitman named his 26-man squad in The Athletic, while also picking his ideal starting XI.
Alan Shearer’s Euro 2020 England squad
Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley), Dean Henderson (Manchester United).
“This was the easy bit, because those three pick themselves. I don’t have any doubt that Gareth will stick with Jordan Pickford for England’s opening game against Croatia, but the other two are very decent back-ups.”
Reece James (Chelsea), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), John Stones (Manchester City), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Michael Keane (Everton).
“Right-back is England’s luxury position; we’ve got a ludicrous number of quality choices there.
“I think Gareth will pick Kieran Trippier ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold, but as well as Reece James, who I’m a big fan of, I’m taking the Liverpool man. I like what Alexander-Arnold offers going forward and his ability to put balls into the box.
“On the left side, we’re sorted, too. Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell have both enjoyed exceptional seasons for Manchester United and Chelsea, their respective clubs.
“At centre-half, Maguire and John Stones are the automatic picks (Walker will again allow Gareth to go to three at the back if and when necessary).”
Declan Rice (West Ham United), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United).
“To lose one holding midfielder would be bad enough, but two? If fit, I’d play them both against the strongest sides — I don’t think it would be necessary otherwise — and I’d definitely start Henderson and Rice against Croatia.
“Henderson is one of the team’s great tempo-setters, bringing leadership, organisation, energy and experience. If either of the pair can’t make it, I’d bring in James Ward-Prowse for his delivery and set pieces.
“Jude Bellingham is just a sensation. At 17, he’s still incredibly young. He’s unlikely to start the first game or two, but a squad usually throws up the unexpected, someone who grasps an opportunity and comes to the fore, and Bellingham could be that player for England.”
Mason Mount (Chelsea), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Mason Greenwood (Manchester United).
“Where do we start with this little lot? Reel off these names and we’re talking about serious ability. I can’t wait to watch Foden and Mason Mount in the Champions League final, these two brilliant, bright young tyros going head to head.
“This is where there’s real excitement, real anticipation, for England.
“The rest of the football world will already be talking about these players and I haven’t even mentioned Harry yet.
“Raheem Sterling is a starter for England, Jadon Sancho has to be involved and Dominic Calvert-Lewin gives Gareth a different skillset in attack, someone who is good in the air and very strong, who can hold the ball up and run the channels.”
Shearer’s starting XI
The former-Newcastle hitman then named his starting line-up and it is safe to say it is quite a team.
Kane is the obvious choice, with the electric City duo of Sterling and Foden flanking him.
Mount starts as the point of a midfield triangle with Henderson and Rice acting as the metronomes behind him.
The defence looks solid as a rock as well with magpie and Stones providing the backbone, while Shaw and Alexander-Arnold provide an extra threat in attack.