*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
You’ve probably overheard groups of lads debating Gareth Southgate’s Euros squad if you’ve been down the pub since they reopened in England last month.
And it’s fair to say expectations are high among the English after watching an exciting crop of players develop in recent years.
England kick off their campaign against World Cup foes Croatia at Wembley on Sunday June 13 – and Paddy Power traders have priced up a special market on the Three Lions XI for the opening fixture.
But Southgate has to reveal his 26-man squad beforehand so we’ve attempted to predict his party for this summer’s tournament.
Jordan Pickford and Dean Henderson are likely to be packing their bags for the tournament while Nick Pope is sweating on his place as he requires knee surgery. Sam Johnstone is waiting in the wings after emerging from West Brom’s Premier League relegation campaign with plenty of credit in the bank. If injury or illness strikes one of the selected glovesmen then Southgate has the luxury of calling up a replacement throughout the tournament.
Harry Maguire and John Stones would be fancied to form the partnership at the heart of defence, although the Manchester United ace suffered an ankle ligament injury in the recent Premier League victory at Aston Villa and is set to miss the Europa League final.
Tyrone Mings, Conor Coady and Michael Keane are in prime position to battle it out for the back-up roles but Southgate’s squad selections will likely depend on whether he plans to utilise a three-at-the-back formation.
But it’s at right-back where the big questions really lie.
Cast your mind back to the summer of 2018 (if you can), Walker impressed in the back three as Trippier occupied the wing-back role so it’s a trick that could be repeated. It could also prompt the need for a third right-back which would likely be a shootout between Alexander-Arnold and James.
Southgate announcing his Euros squad. pic.twitter.com/adkJ4hB4Bt
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) May 17, 2021
Probably the most difficult area of the squad to predict due to Jordan Henderson‘s injury status. The Liverpool skipper missed the Reds’ final games of the campaign but Jurgen Klopp believes he should be fresh for the Euros.
Despite Henderson’s leadership and experience making him a key figure for Southgate, whether he is fit enough to play is another matter. If the 30-year-old is left out then it’ll surely leave the likes of Kalvin Phillips and James Ward-Prowse feeling confident of their spots while potentially opening up an additional attacking pick, although the Leeds man suffered a potential shoulder injury on the final day of the season.
Childhood pals Declan Rice and Mason Mount will probably be among the first names on the Three Lions teamsheet, while the clamour for Jack Grealish to be included has grown over the course of the season – and the extra three spots permitted for Euro 2020 should be enough for him to make the cut.
Birmingham legend Jude Bellingham – still just 17 years old – will be hoping to gatecrash the party but this competition could come a little too soon in his development.
It’s difficult to imagine Southgate opting to take more than two out-and-out strikers due to Rashford‘s versatility so Dominic Calvert-Lewin probably gets the nod as Kane‘s back-up after a decent campaign at club and international level.
Let’s be honest, there’s a few factors at play when it comes to predicting the England squad for Euro 2021.
1) Does Jordan Henderson make the party despite missing three months through injury?
2) What formation is Southgate planning to use?
3) Will the England boss play it safe with his three extra picks or opt for wildcard selections?
Anyway, we’ve taken a stab in the dark and come up with the following 26-man Three Lions squad for this summer’s football fiesta.
Pickford, Henderson, Johnstone; Walker, Trippier, Alexander-Arnold, Maguire, Stones, Coady, Mings, Chilwell, Shaw; Henderson, Rice, Phillips, Ward-Prowse, Mount, Grealish; Saka, Lingard, Foden, Rashford, Sterling, Sancho, Kane, Calvert-Lewin
READ MORE ON EURO 2021
- When does Gareth Southgate name England’s 26-man squad?
- England favourites to end 55 years of hurt by winning Euro 2021
- Euro 2021 fixtures, dates and group details
- Euro 2021 tips: Who to back – and avoid – at this summer’s tournament
- Euro 2021 tips: Who to back – and avoid – to be the top goalscorer