Playfinder predict the starting England line-up at Euro 2020

England wrapped up a record-breaking European qualifying campaign on Sunday night after punishing a spirited Kosovo team to a 4-0 home defeat. The scoreline flattered Gareth Southgate’s side in truth, however, nobody can deny the clinical nature of England’s attack which has to be considered one of the best that will be on display next summer. Records tumbled as England racked up their highest amount of goals scored during qualifying – 37 – and Harry Kane completed a quite ridiculous stat by scoring in all eight games, racking up 12 goals in the process.

Optimism is as high as its been for a decade, with a real sense that England can do something next summer in what is considered a ‘home tournament’ – given that all three group games will be played at Wembley, whilst the semi-final and final will both also take place under the famous arch. Is this optimism misplaced though? Well, given England’s performance in Prague against the Czech Republic you would say yes. There has been a distinct lack of quality opposition, however you can only beat what’s put in front of you and – Czech Republic aside – England have swept aside most with resounding wins.

There are certainly plenty of positives to take from this qualifying process, as going forward we look like we can cause real problems to Europe’s elite sides such as France, Spain and Germany. It appears if Southgate has a pretty good idea of his front three. Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling will be certain starters if fit, whilst Marcus Rashford probably just has the edge of Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho at this present time, but its certainly a nice dilemma to have. Throw the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi into the mix and the future looks very bright. Back-up strikers include Callum Wilson and the in-form Tammy Abraham should anything happen to Kane. Fitness permitting – Sterling, Kane and Rashford should excite any England fan heading into next summer’s showcase event.

England’s defence has looked shaky at times during qualifying, but the general consensus is that Jordan Pickford, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell will form 4 of the back 5 next summer. It is anyone’s guess at this time as to who will partner Maguire with Tyrone Mings, Fikayo Tomori, John Stones, Joe Gomez and Michael Keane all in the running. It has certainly been a problem position for England for a while now, with nobody stamping their authority and making that shirt their own. Mings may be front runner given he has looked solid in recent games, albeit without facing quality opposition.

Without doubt though, Southgate’s biggest dilemma is in the middle of the park. He appears set on playing a ‘pivot’ holding midfielder, with two recognised box-to-box midfielders slightly further in-front. There are plenty of options for these roles, but not many would feel comfortable stating definitely England’s best three midfielders. Against the most potent teams next summer, the midfield battle is such a key component of the game, and our weakness in this area was highlighted against the Dutch during the Nation’s League where we were passed off the park.

Jordan Henderson is likely to start, given his recent form for Liverpool and his general experience which is lacking for the most part in this England side. But there are a plethora of options for the other two midfield spots, Declan Rice, Harry Winks, Mason Mount, James Maddison, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ross Barkley, the list goes on. Dele Alli’s struggles have seen him slip down the pecking order, but if he can recapture his best form, he would likely be a starter.

Given there is still so long left in the season, other names can come into the reckoning, whilst those listed above could cement their place. At this moment, based on club form, Maddison and Mount are possibly the main contenders, although both like to play the classic No.10 role so the balance of the side is something Southgate will have to think about closely.

Here’s Playfinder’s prediction for England’s first game of Euro 2020:

Pickford, Alexander-Arnold, Maguire, Mings, Chilwell; Henderson, Maddison, Mount; Sterling, Kane, Rashford. 

England starting lineup

Whatever side England go with, it is bound to youthful, vibrant and full of energy. If we can touch up a few areas, particularly defensively, then there is a real chance this England side can go far in the tournament. Talk of winning our first major title since 1966 may be slightly premature, but Southgate and England have certainly got an exciting future ahead. Do you agree?

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