Euro 2021: England v France Youngsters

Their chances at Euro 2021

There are several young players that have experience at senior international level and certainly provide plenty of hope for the future of their respective national sides.

By the time these players reach their so-called peak, Gareth Southgate and Didier Deschamps may have moved on with their careers, especially considering that one below-par performance in a major tournament for higher ranking national sides like France and England often warrants the axe.

Considering the previous success at the 2018 World Cup, the respective managers may want to keep a number of things the same. However, since France's triumph in 2018 and England's semi-final run, players that were not present in Russia have made names for themselves on big stages and the postponement of Euro 2020 may turn out to be a blessing to them.

From England's World Cup squad, Marcus Rashford and Trent Alexander-Arnold are the only players that are still classed as 'young players' while Kylian Mbappe is the only one from the French side. One player who is almost certain to be part of next year's Euro 2021 is Jadon Sancho, who has nailed his place in England side following fantastic performances for Borussia Dortmund. Even at the young age of 20, he has not looked out of place and has had a superb campaign for the Black and Yellows.

For France, Dayot Upamecano has caught the eye of the football world and the centre back, at the age of 21, he has been knocking on the door of the national side. Deschamps appears to prefer the likes of Presnel Kimpembe, Raphael Varane, Clement Lenglet and Kurt Zouma in his side. To give Upamecano the best chance of being part of France's Euro 2021 squad, he may need to move from RB Leipzig this summer and spend a full season at a club that is at the next level and a club where he probably will not look out of place at.

Who will take over next season?

For many French teenagers like Alexis Flips and William Saliba, it may be too soon for them to be thrown into the deep end and give them senior international experience within the next few years because the pressure will be on France as they will look to deliver in the Euros and defend their World Cup title in 2022.

However, some do have experience of playing for a big club. Marcus Thuram and Dan-Axel Zagadou have performed well in the Bundesliga this season for Borussia Monchengladbach and Dortmund respectively. Thuram formed a deadly duo partnership with fellow countryman Alassane Plea and Zagadou has been a useful back up at Signal Iduna Park. Because these players have played on such big platforms, they are in a good position to make a success of next season. As for a player like Mbappe, it is very much a case of carrying on what you are doing because he has come off leaps and bounds since the start of his career.

One big difference between the French and English youngsters is that many of the English youngsters are already at big clubs and have had successful spells in the first team of those clubs. Mason Greenwood is a great example and has had a similar start to his Manchester United career to the one that Marcus Rashford made back in 2016, a striker coming through the ranks and making an immediate mark on the first team.

Elsewhere, Pep Guardiola has shown a lot of faith in Phil Foden. The attacking midfielder has been in great form of late and has been showcasing his ability to prove to his manager that he is serious about wanting to nail a regular first team place next season.

Who wins if England and France met at Euro 2021

A match between the two sides would be very entertaining as both sides would probably try to play a high tempo game. Players on both sides have great pace in their ranks like Mbappe, Sancho, Greenwood and maybe even Reiss Nelson.

France would have Mbappe as their playmaker and would do a really good job in feeding the ball to Marcus Thuram upfront. Despite this, England will probably have a sharper attack going forward with having players like Foden, Rashford, Sancho and Mason Mount.

One big flaw in the England side would be the lack of defensive quality. Of course, Trent Alexander-Arnold is arguably the best right-back in the world right now but the same cannot be said for the rest of the backline. A centre back partnership of Jake Clarke-Salter and Fikayo Tomori could work but have significantly less first team experience at a big club between them. Ryan Sessegnon would probably slot in a left-back. The 20-year-old had two fantastic seasons in the Championship with Fulham but has found the step up to the Premier League a bit of a struggle and is now struggling for game time at Spurs.

France, unlike England, do have quality at the back. Alban Lafont has looked a promising goalkeeper and has gained good first team experience in loan spells from Fiorentina. Upamecano is a must to have in the defence and he could play with maybe Zagadou or Marseille's Boubacar Kamara.

If a match like this was to be played, it would certainly a highly competitive game. If both sides played an attacking way at a high intensity, chances and goals will be commonplace. England will probably have the upper hand and will most likely outscore their opponents considering plenty more players have had exposure to high-level first team football, something that many French youngsters have found hard to come by.

By Rob Spereall


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