The England squad I’d take to the Euros:
The Euros are coming quickly for Gareth Southgate and his men, which means that he’s got a hard but vital task of selecting the 23 that he’d like to see on his ‘plane’ alongside himself travelling to the competition. The current pool of players available is packed full of star quality, with a shared ambition of taking the Three Lions one step further than they managed in the 2018 World Cup held in Russia. Failure? It isn’t an option now, it’s time for everyone to think of the best of outcomes, the final is being held at Wembley Stadium. 55 years ago, we all know what happened, let’s make it happen again.
Goalkeepers – Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley), Dean Henderson (Manchester United).
You take three goalkeepers to the Euros and my three would be Manchester United’s Dean Henderson, Everton’s Jordan Pickford and Burnley’s Nick Pope. I know that West Brom’s Sam Johnstone has been selected ahead of Jordan Pickford in the recent squad, which beat San Marino on Thursday night 5-0. However, that was due to injury and I believe that it is common knowledge that although Johnstone is a good keeper .. Pickford is better and deserves to be selected. I just hope that his injury doesn’t last too long, it is an abdominal muscle injury. Jordan has been chosen as England’s starting keeper for some time now thus I believe Southgate knows the quality the 27-year-old has as well. Pope and Henderson are the obvious choices, if Pickford wasn’t, they have both excelled throughout the course of this campaign and their efforts can only be rewarded by a place ‘on the plane’ .. regardless of the games being at Wembley.
Right backs – Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Aaron WanBissaka (Manchester United), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool).
England are blessed at right back. Genuinely, I think you make a team out of the players we have in this position. WanBissaka at centre half, Aarons or Trent as wing backs, Kyle Walker as another centre half and I still haven’t mentioned Reece James yet. I’d choose three players from this position in my final 23, the same amount that I selected of goalkeepers. I’d go with: Manchester United’s Aaron Wan Bissaka, his defensive ability is second to none and I think that we could do with something like that if we come up against stronger opposition, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold as although he has been left out of the recent squad due to a blip in form it’s common knowledge that on his day he’s one of the best in world football. The final place? Manchester City’s Kyle Walker, he can operate at centre half as well as doing a great job at full back, his experience will be valuable as well as he’s on course to add another Premier League title to his name.
It’d be a shame for players like Reece James to miss out, but does he get in over the players that I’ve selected? I’m not too sure. Southgate will have a selection headache for this area.
Centre backs – Harry Maguire (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Conor Coady (Wolves), Micheal Keane (Everton).
Due to having Kyle Walker selected, I would only take four centre halves and look to add further numbers to positions going forwards. Personally, I’d take: Harry Maguire, John Stones, Connor Coady and Micheal Keane to the Euros. Maguire, a great leader for Manchester United who are currently second place in the Premier League table and he’s a fox in the box, John Stones is in the form of his life alongside Ruben Dias for Pep’s men, Connor Coady has to be chosen for his defensive and leadership qualities he places on show every game, you could see the way he lead the Three Lions back line across the course of the victory against San Marino. He has a voice, a powerful voice, which he isn’t afraid to put to good use. Micheal Keane is my fourth, he’s been in great form for Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton this campaign. Tyrone Mings would probably feel bereft if he isn’t selected, I just can’t see a place for him.
Left backs – Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea).
Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell. The easiest decisions yet. Both full-backs have been on top form this season for Manchester United and Chelsea respectively, it’s only a question of who Southgate prefers from then on. Personally, I’d choose Luke Shaw in the starting eleven.
Creative midfield – Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Phil Foden (Manchester City).
England are blessed with creative talent, it’s crazy how many good players Southgate has to select going forwards. Grealish and Maddison are two; Mount, Bellingham, Ward-Prowse, Foden .. the list is endless. However, I’d take Grealish and Foden to this pristine competition. Jack Grealish, Aston Villa, has created more chances than anyone in the Premier League this campaign and that is no mean feat considering he’s currently ruled out with injury. Phil Foden, the young starlet from Manchester City, has to be the other for his pace, ball control and end product. When you watch him, you’re thinking ‘how can anyone get near him?’ no one ever does! He’s been drawing up comparisons to Gazza for this already, not too bad!
Defensive midfield – Declan Rice (West Ham United), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United).
First and foremost, I have no idea how Eric Dier was put into the initial 2022 World Cup Qualifiers squad. His name shouldn’t be near the England team due to his poor performances for Spurs as of late. However, he has provided the country with some great moments. The winning penalty against Colombia, the mighty tackle on Sergio Ramos and the great free kick against Russia. Unfortunately though, it’s time to think of the future and pick the best players in the here and now. Dier isn’t one of them. For me, that has to be Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips. Rice has been immense this season for David Moyes’ Hammers and he should be a regular name in the England eleven, the recently turned 22-year-old holds many interest from all the greatest football clubs in world football but he’s becoming a legend at the London Stadium. Who knows what his future holds? Phillips is the other defensive midfielder that I’d take, he’s quality and his teammates and supporters at Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United know it.
Central midfield – Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).
I’d only take one central midfielder as Rice and Phillips can fill the void here if he gets injured at any point. For this position, I’d love to take Jordan Henderson to the Euros. The commander is currently ruled out with an injury but he has had a great few years as he has led Liverpool to world glory, winning the Club World Cup as well as the Champions League. Holding the Premier League title aloft at an empty Anfield last campaign is another proud and memorable moment in his career, I can’t see a reason why to not pick him if he’s available even if Jurgen Klopp disagrees.
Right winger – Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Mason Mount (Chelsea).
Up front, I’d take Borussia Dortmund starlet Jadon Sancho and Chelsea’s Mason Mount. Sancho has quickly become one of, if not, the best right wingers in world football as he plays alongside the majestic Haaland who turns his every touch into gold. I can’t see a reason why Southgate would disagree with my selection, Sanch will be in the final 23 for the Euros this summer. Another player who I have also been really impressed with is Mason Mount, at first people were skeptical and he was being named ‘Lampard’s son’ as the young manager had started him in his Derby and Chelsea teams. However, it’s now clear to see why he was starting him. The chances the young creative attacker creates are second to none, his pace is sublime and his height contributes to all this as well as he can use his low centre of gravity to maneuver around back lines easily and very effectively. You’ve just got to praise Southgate and the coaches that have turned him into the player he is today, for seeing the quality he had in him even when others were complaining. A little bit like the way Harry Redknapp stuck up for a young Frank Lampard at the Hammers, ‘he’ll go far that boy’ .. he sure did.
Striker – Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton).
Due to the limited numbers, if you could take an unlimited amount .. how great would that be? I’ll choose two strikers who I’d like to see being selected in the final 23, the squad for the Euros. I won’t go for a striker with a low centre of gravity, I’ll let Rashford and Sterling prove themselves in that role if needs be. I’d choose Harry Kane, Tottenham’s top goalscorer, as well as Domic Calvert-Lewin, Micheal Keane’s younger team mate and glorious finisher. I’d start Kane, his leadership qualities and ability to bring other players into play are second to none amongst his other attributes. DCL is a great player to have on the bench, he can tire defences and finish endless amounts of chances when the ball’s in his path.
Left winger – Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).
Marcus Rashford has to be chosen, he’s been immense off the pitch the past year for the nation itself as he has taken to helping disadvantaged children and people in general out. He’s brought to light the food poverty that families are in and has taken to the government to state his concerns, his book about the work that he’s done plus much more will be published before the first game of the Euros and it’ll be one to look out for. His form for Manchester United isn’t too special but he’s getting the numbers to put him into the mix and I think it’d be a shame to leave him out after all that he’s done for others. I’d take two left wingers though, I’m unsure between Bukayo Saka of Arsenal and Raheem Sterling of Manchester City. Due to his valuable experience and his ability to play in more areas than one I’ll choose Sterling but it’s probably time for him to start showing why he’s worthy of selection. A great run of form in Pep’s final games of the campaign is what is needed for him, another Premier League winners medal will be around his neck come May.
My starting eleven:
Everyone above is selected, who sees their name placed on my standby list though?
You can place six players on a standby list. Say if one of the 23 gets injured, you can dip into the options that you have here. It’s six players that are selected, who would make my 24th-29th places?
Goalkeeper? Sam Johnstone, West Brom.
Defence? Tyrone Mings is a solid centre half and so is Ben Godfrey, I’d take them both. Godfrey can feature as left back, adding to the versatility of these options.
Midfield? James WardProwse, Southampton, has shown his quality this campaign and that has been rewarded with a place in the squad for the first set of World Cup qualifiers. I’d take him alongside another, let’s have Jesse Lingard as the other.
Forward? It’s important that we have a smaller striker than Kane and DCL as their both tall and sometimes small contribute very well with large. So, I’d take Danny Ings from Southampton. He’s recently been linked with replacing Sergio Aguero at Manchester City, the talent’s there and so are the goals.
Thank you very much for reading,
It’d be interesting to hear your thoughts and who you’s like to see being selected,