Euro 2020 is fast approaching and many of the continent’s strongest nations have already named their 26-man squads.
Germany, France and Portugal are whipping up hype as some of the favourites to go all the way this summer with world-class players and remarkable squad depth on their side.
However, there’s no getting away from the fact that England have the potential to upset the applecart and fans are eagerly anticipating Gareth Southgate’s squad announcement.
England at Euro 2020
We’ll have to wait until Tuesday for the official selection, but there are already fears that the England boss might underuse some of the nation’s rich attacking talents and play it safe with his picks.
And while that might very well be the case, we like to imagine that Southgate might decide ‘screw it’ and plump for a squad that could really stick it at the front door of Europe’s finest teams.
Ambitious? Maybe, but here at GIVEMESPORT, we at least wanted to imagine what that would look like because we’ve drawn up the squad that we think Southgate should pick this summer.
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Who Southgate should select
Now, it’s only this humble writer’s opinion and make no mistake that your own squad is just as legitimate as mine but without further ado, check out our proposed 26-man squad down below:
1. Dean Henderson (Manchester United)
2. Nick Pope (Burnley)
3. Jordan Pickford (Everton)
There’s not much debate to had here, is there? Shoutout to Sam Johnstone and Karl Darlow for impressive seasons, but it’s worth taking Pickford for his tournament experience if nothing else.
4. Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
5. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
6. Reece James (Chelsea)
As much as I would love to go off script and select Aaron Wan-Bissaka, I think the ship has well and truly sailed in that department with Southgate bafflingly ignoring him squad after squad after squad.
As such, I am indeed going for Alexander-Arnold because I think he brings something to England that none of our other right-backs, no matter how many of them there are, can bring to the table.
His attacking prowess and set-piece brilliance will be crucial for England even if he doesn’t start and for me, James is deserving of a nod ahead of Kieran Trippier despite his strong season in Spain.
7. Harry Maguire (Manchester United)
8. John Stones (Manchester City)
9. Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa)
10. Ben Godfrey (Everton)
Maguire and Stones obviously make the cut and I’m sticking my neck out by saying that Godfrey, who has been Everton’s best player this season, should be given the call-up that he deserves.
I was incredibly tempted to throw Fikayo Tomori into the mix, too, but felt that two uncapped central defenders was far too much of a risk and duly plumped for Mings over Eric Dier and Conor Coady.
11. Luke Shaw (Manchester United)
12. Ben Chilwell (Chelsea)
Again, this position pretty much selects itself. Shaw would make the starting XI against Croatia if I was pulling the strings, but I don’t think there’s too much to complain about if Chilwell gets the nod.
13. Declan Rice (West Ham United)
14. Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United)
15. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)
16. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that Rice is actually one of England’s most integral players this summer because his performances in deep-lying midfield will be vital against the tougher nations.
Phillips is his natural partner or deputy depending on whether we’re pushing or sitting, while I’d even go as far as to say that Bellingham is so talented that he should start some of the games.
Henderson’s injury problems make him a controversial pick but given his experience, leadership skills, capacity to play in defence and the increased 26-man limit, I think he’s worth the risk.
17. Phil Foden (Manchester City)
18. Mason Mount (Chelsea)
19. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)
It feels cruel giving James Maddison the boot, it truly does, but I think he brings less to the table than Grealish despite recently recovering from injury, while Mount and Foden are absolute givens.
20. Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
21. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
22. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
23. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
Sancho and Rashford have been superb this season, so they’re obviously getting the pick, while Sterling’s 2020/21 decline is outweighed by the fact he’s one of the world’s best players on his day.
I thought long and hard about picking Jesse Lingard because he’d be coming into the tournament with form on his side, but Saka’s ability to play in multiple positions ultimately swung it for me.
24. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
25. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)
26. Mason Greenwood (Manchester United)
Obviously Kane gets the nod because, well, I’m not stupid and Calvert-Lewin is the perfect man to be his second in command, bringing with him a real aerial presence and potential impact off the bench.
As for Greenwood, if England are chasing a goal by any means in the closing minutes of a game, who would be the best at going to the jugular and shooting with conviction? That’s what I thought.
Who would you choose for England?
So, would this squad win the Euros or crash out in the group stages?
Either way, you’ll forgive me for thinking that Southgate’s actual squad will likely have Dier, Coady and maybe even Ollie Watkins ahead of some of my, well, more crowd-pleasing decisions.
But regardless of who Southgate actually chooses on Tuesday, I think we can all agree that we’re on the same page when it comes to the fact: It’s coming home, it’s coming, football’s coming home.