England manager Gareth Southgate has picked his squad for the soon-to-commence Euro 2020 tournament (still named after the year in which it was supposed to be played). As expected, Everton’s Ben Godfrey didn’t make the final cut. He’s one for the future.
Trent Alexander-Arnold made the team, as I argued he should. He’s one of four right backs in the squad.
Even without Godfrey, two Everton players were selected — Jordan Pickford and Dominick Calvert-Lewin. Here are the 26 who made the grade:
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Bromwich Albion), Jordan Pickford (Everton).
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds), Declan Rice (West Ham).
Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).
Which players should start? It depends on the formation Southgate opts for. If he goes 3-4-3, I would lean toward:
Pickford: Walker, McGuire, Stones; Alexander-Arnold (narrowly over Reece James), Chilwell, Rice, Henderson; Foden, Mount, Kane.
If it’s four in the back, my selections would probably be:
Pickford: Walker, Shaw (narrowly over Chilwell), Stones, McGuire; Rice, Henderson, Mount; Foden, Sterling, Kane.
Assuming Harry McGuire is fully fit, I’d be inclined to go with four in the back to get that extra attacking player on. If McGuire is good to go, but not 100 percent, I’d play him as one of three center backs, along with wing backs (Alexander-Arnold and Chilwell) who can make it a back five. If McGuire can’t go, I’d replace him with Connor Coady, which would necessitate a back three/five, in my opinion.
Jordan Henderson is another player as to whom there are injury concerns. If he can’t go, his natural replacement will likely be Jude Bellingham, who is only 17 years old!
In all events, I trust Gareth Southgate to get it right.