After England manager Gareth Southgate had named his provisional 33 man squad for Euro 2020, the hard job of deciding who to leave out began.
This week Southgate announced his 26 man squad that he will take to Euro 2020. The debate will continue as to was he right to include A and leave out B, but he has gone with in his words “Our best 26 footballers”.
Lopsided squad announced by Southgate
On paper the squad looks a useful one to compete as favourites to lift the trophy. However, it may appear to be a little lopsided. Southgate has made the interesting call of picking four right backs. Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Reece James and Trent Alexander-Arnold. One of those for mentioned had to pull out of the squad this week through injury. Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold has been ruled out with a thigh injury which he picked up recently.
Despite this setback for the England gaffer, the remaining three right-backs are very versatile, which is a big bonus for the three lions. Walker has also played as a right wing back, left back and even centre back.
Versatilty a key feature for England
James has featured in all three positions and also in midfield. Trippier can play on either flank and is a dead ball specialist.
When you cast your eyes down the names of the 26 players Southgate has named for Euro 2020, you can see it is a young squad. This squad can certainly rise to all occasions as they have done in the past.
It is a group of players who are technically gifted and wanting to succeed on the big stage. With exciting players like Jude Bellingham, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka the future looks bright.
Phil Foden, a fine talent for England
In Phil Foden England have one of the finest talents in the world, let alone Europe.
However, there are concerns of two of his most important senior players in Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson. Both players are key to how far England can go in this tournament.
There will be a lot of close games in this tournament, without Maguire in defence and Henderson in midfield, they do look at risk.
Pickford England’s Number One
Jordan Pickford will be first choice keeper after having won 30 caps. The two other keepers named by Southgate are very inexperienced. Dean Henderson with one cap and West Brom’s Sam Johnstone yet to receive one.
The outstanding Jack Grealish has been named in the 26 with a good chance he will shine at these Euros. Champions League winner Mason Mount could be another youngster who will make his name in the next few weeks.
In terms of attacking prowess, Southgate has gone with the tried and trusted Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. A combination of 114 caps between them and 48 goals alongside the inexperienced Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Saka make up the attacking threat.
England should progress from their group
England should get through their group stages with Scotland, Croatia and Czech Republic also in their group.
Having the advantage of playing all of their group matches at Wembley along with a crowd will certainly help England. With the top two in each group automatically qualifying, England look good enough to qualify for the knock out stages of the competition.
As like any other tournament, that is when the real tournament starts as it will be knock out football. For the first time in a very long while England are clear favourites to win a major tournament.
Will the three lions be able to handle the favourites tag put on them?
In the past England sides have gone to tournaments with nothing to lose and not expected to win. No pressure on them has seen the side perform up until a certain point. Now the ball will be on the other foot as tournament favourites they will be expected to be contesting the final. That is when you are under immense pressure. Can this youthful side handle everything that will be thrown at them?
Answer to this question and many others will all be revealed come July 11th. For an England point of view, let us just hope that it won’t come down to the dreaded penalty shoot-out, yet again.