Our Predicted England XI for the First Game of Euro 2020

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KYLE WALKER, LUKE SHAW, PHIL FODEN & DECLAN RICE @ 15/2

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford

The number one shirt for England has been highly debated this season, as the form of Jordan Pickford has come under question. Everton’s shot-stopper, however, does have major tournament experience, making him the front runner ahead of Nick Pope and Dean Henderson.

Gareth Southgate has backed Pickford on multiple occasions and his ability to play out from the back may suit the expected three at the back system and unless another crash in form, the Toffees man is expected in there once more.

Pickford is 8/13 to start against Croatia.

Centre back: Kyle Walker

Despite not being his natural position, Kyle Walker has been deployed on the right of a back three on many occasions for the Three Lions, most notably at the 2018 World Cup as the country made it to their first semi-finals in 30 years.

Walker's electric pace will serve England well for defending counter attacks, as the Sheffield-born defender is able to cover for his slower defensive partners. At the same time, his defensive abilities have improved under Pep Guardiola and forced him back into the England setup, and now, with John Stones back in too, it makes perfect sense for Southgate to reemploy the famous 2018 World Cup starting defence.

Walker is 8/11 to start.

Centre back: John Stones

Following his excellent season for Manchester City, John Stones has been recalled to the England squad for the first time since November 2019. He makes up half of Europe’s best centre back partnership alongside Ruben Dias, so including him in England’s backline is a no-brainer.

Stones' newfound organisational and leadership skills will prove vital for England, who have struggled for a strong defensive presence in recent years. However, at the 2018 World Cup, Maguire and Stones were two of the best on show, so this is likely to be the case once more.

Stones is 1/5 to make the starting XI.

Centre back: Harry Maguire

Completing the back three is Manchester United captain, Harry Maguire, meaning that we predict this summer’s back three to be a repeat of the one used at the World Cup.

Maguire’s performances for his club have picked up drastically lately, as he has been a constant for the Red Devils. His ability to bring the ball out from the back will suit him on the left of a back three, as he does so often at Old Trafford, so Maguire is the obvious candidate for a back three made in Yorkshire.

Like Stones, Maguire is also 1/5 to start.

Right wing back: Reece James

As one of the more competitive positions in the England team, the right-back slot is very much up for grabs. The leading candidates include Trent Alexander-Arnold (despite his recent exclusion from the squad) and Kieran Trippier, but Chelsea’s Reece James may be winning the race.

The 21-year-old has impressed in both a back four and a back five for the Blues this season, so his energy and crossing ability will be crucial for Gareth Southgate’s side this summer and if he continues to work so well under Thomas Tuchel, he'll be one of the first names on the teamsheet.

James is not the favourite to start at Euro 2020 in this spot, with Tripper and Alexander-Arnold ahead of him. James is 9/4 to start.

Left wing back: Luke Shaw

One man who has forced his way back into the England reckoning is Luke Shaw, who has been nothing short of outstanding at left-back for United this season.

The signing of Alex Telles appears to have lit a fire under the Englishman, as he has been the best left-back in the league by some distance, and perhaps even in all of world football. Shaw's competition at left wing-back includes Ben Chilwell and Bukayo Saka, but Shaw is the clear favourite and will likely start if his electric form continues until the first game.

Shaw is 4/6 to start.

Centre midfield: Declan Rice

A more defensive midfield duo is to be expected for England in order to accommodate the usual three attackers, so Declan Rice is a clear favourite for this position.

Rice has been one of the key performers in West Ham United's surprise push for European football, and has even established himself as the club's skipper in Mark Noble’s absence. The 22-year-old has proved that he can hold the responsibility of playing in a two-man pivot and is one of the brightest young players in the country, so is surely a shoe-in.

Rice has moved to the midfield favourite with Sky Bet to start at 1/4.

Centre midfield: Jordan Henderson

If both fit in time for the Euros and had a bit of playing time first, Jordan Henderson is a definite starter, as he has proven himself to be one of England’s most consistent players over the last few years.

Whilst it's been a torrid campaign for almost everyone in Liverpool colours this season, the Reds captain offers an excellent range of passing from the base of our midfield and can hold his position in order to allow the forwards more creative freedom.

If he’s not fit in time, then Mason Mount will likely start instead to give the nation more attacking intent. However, Southgate has been a fan of two holding midfielders throughout and this is expected again, despite Mount's form.

Despite his injury, Henderson remains 11/8 to start.

Left wing: Raheem Sterling

Another who is surely a guaranteed starter, Raheem Sterling has proven himself to be one of the world’s best wingers over the past few years, as his goal record has been brilliant.

Pep Guardiola has moulded Sterling into a world class forward, but the debate comes over whether he will start on the right wing or the left. He has been more accustomed to playing on the left, but the emergence of Phil Foden has led to Sterling switching sides, so he is more than capable of either.

The City star's goalscoring form has took a hit this campaign, but he remains consistent enough to get in ahead of Marcus Rashford.

Sterling is 1/5 to begin against Croatia.

Centre forward: Harry Kane

The first name on the teamsheet as he is both England's best player and the captain.

After years of breaking records, Kane has 17 goals and 13 assists in the Premier League this season, as his playmaking abilities have gained plaudits from the media. Having won the Golden Boot in the 2018 World Cup with six goals, Kane will be hoping to improve on his excellent international record, which has seen the 27-year-old score 32 times in 51 games.

Kane is the lowest price of all at 1/6, and rightfully so.

Right wing: Phil Foden

The two winger spots in England's starting XI are the toughest to call, with not much separating the five standout candidates. It does look as if Rashford will settle for role off the bench with his pace, leaving Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish and Foden all fighting for a starting role - not a bad problem to have.

However, with Foden fighting on all fronts to win absolutely everything at club level, the Stockport-born seems to be the preferred choice right now. This is no disrespect to the other two, but Southgate has made it clear he doesn't favour the Aston Villa captain as much, whilst despite Sancho's 12 goals and 16 assists in all competitions, his Borussia Dortmund side are seriously underachieving this year.

Foden has been managed six goals and five assists in 22 league games so far, and his calmness on the ball, sensational control and vision just seems to give him the edge over others in this position.

Foden is 5/4 to start.

By Luke Feather


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