So, we now know the 26 players that will be representing England at Euro 2020.
Gareth Southgate has bidden his time to access the fitness of many players but has now finally made the tough decision.
In truth, picking as many as 26 players means that almost everyone who deserves a place is rewarded with one. However, some fans may have disagreed with the decision to leave out Jesse Lingard or Ollie Watkins.
But one thing is for sure, the 26 players are good enough to bring football home. Whether they can or not, remains to be seen.
All the speculation regarding who will make the squad is now over and the speculation regarding who will start the opening game against Croatia is now underway.
And we’ve decided to get involved.
Quiz: Can you name these England one-cap wonders?
But we haven’t stopped short of naming the 11 players who should start the tournament but we’ve also ranked the entire 26 players into categories from ‘Shouldn’t be in the squad’ to ‘definitely starting’ if everyone was fully fit.
Now, we’re fully aware that these 26 players are England internationals and have given their entire careers to have made this squad.
So, when we’re using terms such as ‘shouldn’t be in the squad’ and ‘making up the numbers’ it’s all relative and we’re simply comparing them to other England players.
Disclaimer over, let’s take a look at our rankings:
Shouldn’t be in the squad
- Tyrone Mings
We’re sorry to say someone doesn’t deserve to be in the squad but we just don’t think Tyrone Mings is good enough for England and there were a number of more suitable candidates to play as a back-up centre-back such as Fikayo Tomori, Ben White or Ben Godfrey. We hope he proves us wrong during the tournament.
Making up the numbers
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin
- Conor Coady
- Kalvin Phillips
- Sam Johnstone
- Dean Henderson
- Bukayo Saka
Now, we’re not saying these players don’t deserve to be in the squad. In fact, we think their selections are more than justified. But by ‘making up the numbers’ we simply don’t think this group will be starting any matches unless there’s a dead rubber or England suffer an injury crisis.
Probably won’t start
- Trent Alexander-Arnold
- Jack Grealish
- Kieran Trippier
- Raheem Sterling
- Ben Chilwell
- Marcus Rashford
- Reece James
- Jude Bellingham
If any of these players started against Croatia, there wouldn’t be too many complaints. All are in contention for a starting berth but we think each of them may just be edged out by other options.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Tripper and Reece James may find themselves behind Kyle Walker if Southgate opts for a back-four.
On the other flank, the decision between Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell is a tough one but we think the Man Utd man just edges it.
Meanwhile, Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford are all competing for a place in front-three but may not have done enough in the last few months.
Jude Bellingham could be England’s wildcard and rewarded with a start in the opening match but they may well depend on the fitness of Jordan Henderson.
- Jordan Henderson
- Kyle Walker
- Jadon Sancho
- Mason Mount
- Declan Rice
- Luke Shaw
- Phil Foden
Seven players who we think will be starting England’s first match if they’re all fit. However, all of those listed face tough competition from teammates and it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see any one of them on the bench against Croatia.
- John Stones
- Harry Maguire
- Jordan Pickford
- Harry Kane
We think just four players are guaranteed a starting berth providing they’re fit enough.
There are concerns over Harry Maguire’s fitness and he may not make the opener at Wembley. If he does, he’ll start alongside John Stones.
Jordan Pickford may not be the best goalkeeper in the world but he’s the best England have got right now.
And it will be Harry Kane leading the line. Who accompanies him remains to be seen.
We’re sure that absolutely everyone will agree with us on our selections…not.
We’ve just highlighted just how difficult Southgate’s job is ahead of England’s opener against Croatia at Wembley on June 13.
The fact there are just four ‘definite starters’ just about sums it up – and even then there are major injury doubts regarding one of them.
No matter who you think should start, England have a lot of exciting talent and have a fantastic chance of going all the way this summer.