Euro 2020 countdown continues – who will be in the starting 11 for England’s first game?

by | Jun 3, 2021

England began their Euro 2020 preparations with a 1-0 win against Austria on Wednesday thanks to Bukayo Saka's first international goal.

Gareth Southgate will need to reinstate at least one of the six players who didn't make his 26-man squad, after Trent Alexander-Arnold limped off injured and has been ruled out of the tournament. Jesse Lingard, James Ward-Prowse, Ollie Watkins, Ben White and Ben Godfrey all featured against Austria and are now waiting to find out if they will be back in the squad.

An England side without any Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United players were far from convincing, although Jack Grealish impressed, while 17-year-old Jude Bellingham did enough to show why he is in the squad.

Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips and Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, who are both contenders for Southgate's starting 11 for England's first Euro 2020 game against Croatia a week on Sunday, were on the bench but did not feature.

England have one more friendly, against Romania on Sunday, to fit in before then, but with Harry Maguire an injury doubt for England's first group game, Southgate could have a big decision to make with who starts in defence against Croatia.

Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady started against Austria, but Kyle Walker is an option to play alongside Manchester City team mate John Stones at centre back in a 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 formation.

Harry Kane, who played for just over an hour last night, is a certain starter, as are Mason Mount and Phil Foden, but who else makes the starting 11 for England's first Euro 2020 game?

Jordan Pickford is Southgate's first choice keeper, while Ben Chilwell and Reece James, who performed exceptionally well for Chelsea in the Champions League final, are contenders for the full back or wing back roles.

With Jordan Henderson nursing an injury, Declan Rice and Phillips are good bets for starting places in defensive midfield roles, and Raheem Sterling, Grealish, Bellingham and Sancho are all in the mix.

One positive against Austria was the presence of fans and, although capacity restrictions mean attendances at Wembley will be restricted, England fans will still have an option to seek out venues that are creating the big match atmosphere with giant screens.

Possible England starting 11 v Croatia:

4-3-3 formation

Goalkeeper: Pickford
Defenders: Chilwell, Stones, Walker, James
Midfielders: Phillips, Rice, Mount
Forwards: Sterling, Foden, Kane

England's 26-man squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Bromwich Albion), Jordan Pickford (Everton).

Defenders: John Stones (Manchester City), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Reece James (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid).

Midfielders: Mason Mount (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham United), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United).

Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal).

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