John Brewin: Here’s my England squad for the Euro 2020 Championships

Some controversial calls in here.


England are all set for Euro 2020, and their easy qualification as group winners means they will be playing their first-round games at home, with a trip to Dublin or Copenhagen in the last 16 to come.

The hope is for a return to Wembley if the semi-finals and final are to be reached. Fans can start making their plans, and so can the players, though Gareth Southgate has a lot of thinking to do. And some of them have some worrying to do, too.

Rarely has an England manager in the last three decades or so been so blessed with options.

Southgate is the beneficiary of a great flowering of English youth and will have to make some harsh calls to fit his players into a 23-man squad.

He has just one further international week in the spring from which to help his choice along and those looking to impress have already run short of time.

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Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope, Tom Heaton

Despite his patchy form for Everton, Pickford is the man in possession, rarely having let down his country. This is not a vintage crop of goalkeepers in truth and Nick Pope’s form since returning to Burnley duty has him as a capable second-stringer.

The final choice lies between Tom Heaton, experienced, and a good character to have around the camp, or Dean Henderson, on loan at Sheffield United from Manchester United, as one for the future.

Henderson made a couple of key errors in last year’s Under-21 Euros, and Heaton seems the safer pair of hands should the highly unlikely happen.

Full-backs: Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Danny Rose

With 4-3-3 looking like the formation that Southgate has settled on for now, there looks to be a need for four full-backs by trade.

With Manchester City’s Kyle Walker left out since the summer and not actually in his best form this season – and having played as a centre-back in any case – Alexander-Arnold is the clear first choice on the right with Trippier an able deputy.

Chilwell’s excellent season for club and country means he is first choice ahead of Rose, who has been shaky and is perhaps most vulnerable. Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s injury before the Bulgaria game in October was untimely, and he is relying on a drop-out to get in.

Centre-backs: Harry Maguire, John Stones, Joe Gomez, Tyrone Mings

This is an area of weakness, with Maguire and Stones pretty much unchallenged for a place. Tyrone Mings excelled against Bulgaria while Fikayo Tomori has been the beneficiary of Frank Lampard’s trust in youth at Chelsea, but neither look oven-ready for a tournament.

One of them is likely to be cut as Gomez’s versatility – he can also play at full-back – peps up his chance of a call.

Mings gets the nod here due to his greater experience. Tomori’s charge may have come too late and his failure to get on the field on Thursday suggests that.

Midfielders: Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Declan Rice, Mason Mount, Harry Winks, Ross Barkley

A highly competitive unit, and one in which there are questions to answer. Dele Alli, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Jesse Lingard, stars of England’s run to the World Cup semi-finals, look likely to be victims of drops in form and injury in the time since. With Henderson one of the team’s leaders, the rest is up for grabs and may depend on how variable Southgate demands his squad should be.

He appears to be fond of Winks at the base of a trio, which places questions against Declan Rice, whose rise was rapid but who has struggled recently as West Ham have faded in the Premier League.

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s return to fitness and form looks to give him a good chance as he can play any of the three positions across midfield.

Southgate is an admirer of Ross Barkley, who has improved hugely at Chelsea but the younger, more direct talents of teammate Mason Mount and James Maddison look to be in direct competition. The latter’s illness last month and ill-starred decision to go to a casino may count against him.

Mount was given a start against Montenegro, while Maddison had to wait for his chance to make his debut. The pair look to be competing for the same place and much will depend on their exploits this season.

Forwards: Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi

Here is where Southgate is blessed with riches and three undoubted first-choice players in Sterling, Kane and Rashford who, injury and horrific crashes in form permitting, will start England’s opener at Wembley.

That plumping for a 4-3-3 formation means Southgate may feel he must double up his attacking trident. Sancho looks to be almost certain to be take, while Hudson-Odoi has a decent chance despite his relative lack of experience.

However, it may be that he is left at home while Southgate decides that Oxlade-Chamberlain or Mount can step into the forward line and an extra midfielder is added to be on the safe side.

Much will depend on Kane’s fitness, since of all England’s players he is the most sincerely irreplaceable.

Southgate will want a replacement centre-forward to rely on, which comes down to a call between Callum Wilson and Tammy Abraham, who has been superb for Chelsea and took his first England goal so well against Montenegro. Southgate’s favouring of youth suggests Abraham will be the player to get his call.

Left on the shelf: Dean Henderson, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Fikayo Tomori, James Maddison, Dele Alli, Callum Wilson

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