If England haven’t already booked their hotel in Germany for Euro 2024 then it’s not clear what they’re waiting for. Granted, they haven’t officially confirmed their place at the Euros next summer, but as Paddy has the Three Lions priced at 1/100 to qualify (and 1/10 to top their group), Gareth Southgate better be practicing his German.
Perhaps Harry Kane can give him some lessons while wearing his lederhosen?
This situation leaves England in a bit of lull in this international break. They host Australia in a friendly at Wembley on Friday before Italy arrive at the national stadium for a qualification match on Tuesday.
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But while the results don’t matter hugely, the performances might for some of the players involved. With only a further two international breaks for us to stomach – in November and March – there are precious few opportunities for fringe members of the squad to secure a spot on the plane next June.
For some, their spot in the squad is assured. Harry Maguire will make the cut for as long as Southgate is manager, irrespective of whether he’s playing for Manchester United or not.
Not every player can be so certain of being in Germany next summer, though. Here’s a look at who might or might not make the cut for Southgate’s 23 for 2024 (and we’ll ignore the prospect of a late-season injury ruling someone out at this point to keep things simple).
The World Cup Squad
Thanks to the last World Cup being held in the winter, it took place less than a year ago (and in fantastic conditions for all concerned, just ask multi-millionaire David Beckham). It would be reasonable to expect the majority of the England squad from Qatar to be lining up in the Euros at the end of this season.
Southgate’s selections in 2023 suggests he is thinking along similar lines. Fifteen of the 16 men to whom he has given the most minutes this year were at the 2022 World Cup, and another four from that tournament have at least played a part in England’s six matches.
That leaves six from Qatar who haven’t yet featured for the Three Lions this year. There’s probably two from that group who have a chance and four who will be lucky to make the cut.
On the positive side of the ledger are Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling. They are priced at 8/13 and 5/4 respectively to be in the squad next summer. Both made two starts in Qatar, came off the bench in the quarter-final defeat to France, and have been thought of highly. While they haven’t made great starts to 2023/24, it wouldn’t take much improvement to get them back into Southgate’s thoughts.
The picture is less rosy for Conor Coady (playing in the Championship), Eric Dier (not playing at all), Nick Pope (reserve goalies are ten a penny) or Ben White (who left the last World Cup mid-tournament for personal reasons and has not been seen with England since).
Pope is the shortest price of this group, at 4/6, and is third favourite among the goalkeepers, so appears to have the best chance of anyone in this quartet.
The question marks
While we joke about Maguire’s continual inclusion in squads, he has struggled for United for so long and remained in the England reckoning that another uninspiring campaign is unlikely to make any difference at this point.
But at least he’s at a Premier League club. Jordan Henderson is playing for a team in Saudi Arabia that Opta currently rates as a touch worse than League One Blackpool. How on earth can the England manager justify his selection? Henderson is evens to be at the Euros if you think he can maintain a hold over Southgate.
The other player from the World Cup squad who looks most at risk is Conor Gallagher. Although he has been called up in every window in 2023, his five appearances have totalled just 52 minutes. That’s not a record likely to be missed if another young midfielder can stake a serious claim. You can get 6/4 for Gallagher to make the squad for Euro 2024.
The former under-21s and recent favourites
There is little evidence of England’s triumphant side from the recent Under-21 European Championships graduating into Southgate’s team. The closest to doing so is Levi Colwill (8/13 to make the Euros squad), who was called up but didn’t play in the last window and has been selected once again this month.
Others such as Anthony Gordon (11/4), Curtis Jones (12/1) and Morgan Gibbs-White (5/1) have been doing well for their clubs but are yet to receive senior England recognition.
Though not selected for Qatar, Marc Guehi has otherwise rarely missed a squad in the last 18 months and looks well placed to snag a spot for Germany (as his price of 1/2 to do so suggests). Lewis Dunk (4/6) is another centre-back who seems to be in the manager’s thoughts this season and will likely stay there for as long as Brighton do well.
But perhaps the ones to watch are Jarrod Bowen and Ollie Watkins (both 2/1), who have been recalled this month for their first taste of England since last year. Both are in form and could take a spot if the likes of Sterling and Mount continue to struggle.
And there you were, thinking this international window didn’t matter. It turns out there’s plenty of people worth keeping an eye on.
*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.
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