England's First Starting XI Euro 2020 Odds & Prediction

Pickford expected to start, But Henderson not far off

Due to the absence of David De Gea, Dean Henderson has had a run of games at Manchester United and has not looked out of place at the elite level, bar an error for AC Milan's sole goal in their two-legged affair in the Europa League, however, Henderson has kept seven clean sheets in nine games in this period without De Gea.

This may be enough to keep the number one spot ahead of the Spaniard despite his return, and if Henderson’s form continues, he could well be set for an appearance in between the sticks for England in their opening game of Euro 2020 against Croatia.

The United keeper's main competitor is Everton’s Jordan Pickford, who has been England’s first choice for the last few years but has had an unconvincing season for the Toffees. Ever since the collapse in form after the 2018 World Cup, fans have been calling for Pickford's head and Burnley’s Nick Pope to come in as a replacement, however, with Henderson looking like becoming United's main man, he could be the starter.

Henderson is priced at 6/1 to start against Croatia and may well only be a run of form or an injury to Pickford or Pope away from being the country’s first choice keeper. As of now, of course, Pickford is injured and not with the England squad, and Pope has also dropped into 5/2 to start against Croatia.

Nobody knows who starts at right-back

This time last season, Trent Alexander-Arnold was one of the first names on the England team sheet and the best right-back in world football by quite a distance, but after a disappointing campaign for Liverpool, he has not been selected for the England squad for March’s fixtures.

This could just be a warning from Gareth Southgate to guard Alexander-Arnold from complacency, setting a reminder that he is not guaranteed a place in the squad for Euro 2020. Although there are question marks over his defensive qualities, the Liverpudlian's ability is unquestionable and this minor setback could provide the necessary motivation for him to get back to his best.

Alexander-Arnold is currently 7/4 to start for England in their first game at the Euros, whilst the Kyle Walker is priced at 5/6, however, he has played as a centre-back in the Three Lions' back three plenty of times since 2017 and he could start there instead.

At the same price at Alexander-Arnold is Kieran Tripper (7/4), whilst Reece James is a little higher at 2/1, so whoever starts at right-back at Euro 2020 is anyone's guess, but right now, the Liverpool man is really tracking behind.

Foden or Grealish?

Fan favourite Jack Grealish is the name on the lips of every England fan as the man to help the Three Lions bring home their first major trophy since 1966. With Grealish’s favoured position now being the left-wing, it will be interesting to see how Southgate sets up his team to accommodate the Aston Villa captain, if he is intent on playing him.

We could see Grealish in central midfield or Raheem Sterling pushed onto the right flank or even Grealish on the bench and used as a super-sub, but with Sterling starting most games, Grealish might have to settle for a spot in midfield or on the bench. With similarities to Paul Gascoigne due to his ability to make a chance out of nothing and glide past players as if they weren’t there, fans will be expecting Grealish to be a focal point of this summer’s side and will certainly be disappointed if he doesn’t start against Croatia - Grealish is 11/8 to start on the 13th of June for Southgate’s side.

Similarly to Grealish, Foden has been one of the standout performers in the Premier League this season, becoming a key player for runaway leaders Manchester City and establishing himself as one of the most promising youngsters in the world.

Foden has played as an attacking midfielder, a right-winger and even as a false nine so far this season but will likely have Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho as competition on the wing due to the formations that Southgate seems to favour. The City star's ability means he is impossible to look past and Southgate may feel like he has to incorporate him into the starting XI, but he will not want to sacrifice his tactics in order to do so, just like Grealish.

He is another player that fans will be expecting to see start, but Foden will need a strong finish this season if he wants to get the nod ahead of Sancho or Grealish - Foden is 5/4 to start against Croatia.

Outsiders to consider

Southgate is clearly a fan of Eric Dier, which makes sense due to his use of an anchorman to link the defence and midfield in his 4-3-3 formation, and also with Dier’s versatility to play in a back three, which we’ve seen England use over the last few years.

However, it is expected that Declan Rice will take the defensive midfield role, so the question remains whether or not England will play a back three against Croatia. Gareth Southgate opted for a back three when the two sides met in the infamous World Cup semi-final but played a back four in the two meetings after, although he could be happy to settle for a point against the toughest team in England’s group and play a defensive shape which would suit Dier. Dier’s best chance of starting is if England play a back three or if there is an injury to Declan Rice - he is priced at 7/2 to start.

Marcus Rashford is also a slight outsider at 11/8, although, his form has dipped tremendously in 2021 and he has rarely been missed for United at times when rested or injured. Rashford's inconsistencies have concerned much of the Red Devils faithful this season, however, the England forward has still contributed more goal involvements than any other Englishman bar Harry Kane.

Ben Chilwell is also sitting at 11/8, behind the likes of Shaw in the run in for a start at left-back. However, given Shaw's form over the Chelsea man, as of now, there is only one starter.

Who we expect to start for England against Croatia at Euro 2020

Jordan Pickford - 8/13

Kyle Walker - 5/6

Harry Maguire - 1/5

John Stones - 1/3

Luke Shaw - 8/11

Kieran Trippier - 7/4

Declan Rice - 1/2

Mason Mount - 4/6

Harry Kane - 1/6

Jadon Sancho - 10/11

Raheem Sterling - 1/3

By Tom Eaton


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