The Three Lions reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup but who are the contenders to make the team for the Euros this summer?
England booked their place at Euro 2020 after taking seven wins from eight games in qualifying group A, scoring 37 goals in the process.
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate must now focus on the business of identifying his final squad for the tournament, which is due to kick off in June 2021.
The 3-4-3 formation has been favoured by Southgate in recent international breaks and that will probably inform any decisions regarding personnel, but there is a lot of competition for places.
He can choose 23 players to form his squad for Euro 2020, with the semi-finals and final taking place in the UK at Wembley, giving players just a few more months to impress before the names have to be submitted.
Who is guaranteed to make England’s Euro 2020 squad?
Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford looks set to start for the Three Lions after establishing himself as England’s number one after a series of impressive displays at the 2018 World Cup.
Pickford’s deputies will most likely be Burnley’s Nick Pope and Manchester United shot-stopper Dean Henderson – with Pope perhaps the closest to the Everton custodian in the pecking order, though Henderson’s form for the Red Devils could see him climb ahead.
In defence, Manchester United captain Harry Maguire is a certainty as long as he remains fit, but the identity of his centre-back partners remains changeable. Manchester City’s Kyle Walker should make the final panel and brings vast experience.
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold looked like he would be one of the first names on the teamsheet after a stellar two years establishing himself as one of the best right-backs in the world, but his place is by no means certain any more after Southgate left him out of the squad for the opening World Cup 2022 qualifiers.
In midfield, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is primed to be England’s key central midfielder when fit, while West Ham’s Declan Rice has established himself as one of England’s best holding midfielders.
Captain Harry Kane should lead the line for the Three Lions and Man City’s Raheem Sterling should also be included, along with Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford .
Dominic Calvert-Lewin looks to have established himself as Kane’s first deputy up front after a consistent number of years for Everton, while Eric Dier is now a solid centre-back option for Southgate, with versatility.
Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount has emerged as a dependable player for Southgate and has formed a good understanding with his childhood friend Rice.
Who are the contenders to make England’s Euro 2020 squad?
There is a lot of competition all over the pitch and in defence, Michael Keane faces a battle with Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady for a seat on the plane – all three are very much contenders for the squad.
Liverpool’s Joe Gomez would have been a guaranteed member of the squad, but a knee injury in November 2020 means he faces a race to regain fitness and major doubts have been cast over him as a result.
Players such as Kieran Trippier and Ben Chilwell have been consistently impressive over a number of seasons, but the likes of Bukayo Saka and Reece James are snapping at their heels after solid club seasons.
Manchester City defender John Stones has endured injury and form woes so had fallen down the pecking order, but he has enjoyed an impressive start to 2021 and propelled himself back into the mix.
Leicester City midfielder James Maddison would have had high hopes of cementing a place in the team in 2019, but injuries dealt him a set-back. Nevertheless, he is back playing and remains a contender.
One player who has certainly thrust himself into the equation is Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish and the playmaker has shown he is on the same wavelength as team-mates Mount and Sancho.
Phil Foden and Harry Winks are now firm contenders as well, and will be in the mix for the tournament should they continue to impress at club level for Man City and Spurs respectively.
Up front, Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham has been in and around the panel for a number of years now and offers an alternative presence in attack, while Danny Ings has been sensational for Southampton.
Manchester United teenager Mason Greenwood can consider himself a contender, but his form will have to be at its peak if he is to force his way back into the reckoning, as will that of Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has shown glimpses of his potential to be a star for Chelsea.
Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse has improved immensely over the past few seasons and boasts set-piece ability that could be an asset in a tournament, while Kalvin Phillips has impressed in the Leeds United engine room under Marcelo Bielsa.
Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw has not featured for England since 2018 and is well down the pecking order, but a spell of spectacular form for the Red Devils earned him a recall to the panel in March 2021 and he could improve his chances if he impresses.
Who is a long shot to make England’s Euro 2020 squad?
Such is the competitiveness of the squad that a number of previous stalwarts find themselves categorised as long shots to be included in Southgate’s 23-man squad.
Among those is Tottenham’s Dele Alli and the playmaker will require a serious upturn in his club form if he is to get back into the conversation.
Ross Barkley will need a big season on loan at Aston Villa to get back into Southgate’s thinking and Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be hoping to show that he can still contribute as well.
Patrick Bamford is a player who has flourished under Bielsa’s watch at Leeds and the inclusion of the former Chelsea youth player has become a talking point for England fans. However, despite his goalscoring and playmaking exploits for the Yorkshire club, he finds himself up against Kane and Calvert-Lewin, with a number of others – including, seemingly, Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins– also still ahead of him in the pecking order.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been around the fringes of the panel, but the West Brom man’s versatility is an asset and something that will be to his credit in the consideration of a tournament team.
Similarly, Danny Rose has long been a fixture in England squads, but his club situation at Tottenham means he is likely to struggle for the gametime needed to claw his way back into the reckoning.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka appears far from Southgate’s thoughts and there have even been suggestions that he might throw his lot in with DR Congo.
There are a number of rising stars for whom Euro 2020 may come too early, such as Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham and Leicester City’s Harvey Barnes – but the former could squeeze it if he continues to star in Germany.
Brighton captain Lewis Dunk along with his club-mates Tariq Lamptey and Ben White are only likely to be called upon in an emergency, with the same applying to goalkeepers such as Sam Johnstone, Aaron Ramsdale and Tom Heaton.
Predicted England squad for Euro 2020
|Dean Henderson||GK||Manchester United|
|Harry Maguire||DF||Manchester United|
|Kyle Walker||DF||Manchester City|
|Kieran Trippier||DF||Atletico Madrid|
|John Stones||DF||Manchester City|
|Declan Rice||MF||West Ham|
|Phil Foden||MF||Manchester City|
|Jack Grealish||MF||Aston Villa|
|Raheem Sterling||FW||Manchester City|
|Jadon Sancho||FW||Borussia Dortmund|
|Marcus Rashford||FW||Manchester United|
The above predicted squad features three goalkeepers, nine nominal defenders, five out-and-out midfielders and six forward players.
Of course, there is a lot of versatility present, with many players who are capable of playing in more than one area of the pitch. Dier, for example, can play at centre-back or central midfield – a trait Henderson has also picked up during the injury crisis at Liverpool – and Bukayo Saka can play left-back, wing-back or left-wing.
The make-up of the squad for the Euros will depend very much on which formation Southgate prefers and he is likely to experiment in any pre-tournament warm-up games. He has deployed three at the back with wing-backs in 3-4-3 and 3-5-2 formations, but has also gone for 4-2-3-1 and a 4-4-2 diamond.
Southgate’s tactical flexibility means that he could well keep people guessing right up to June as to how his England team will arrive at the tournament.