Summer is fast approaching and with it the UEFA European Football Championship, which will be held across the continent, with 11 host cities. With the tournament set to get underway on 11 June and England’s first match against Croatia kicking off on 13 June, football fans across the country are eager to see how this crop of English talent will fare on the European stage.
UEFA recently announced that the squads would be expanded from 23 players to 26, meaning that Gareth Southgate will have an abundance of talent and quality depth in his squad. After England’s run to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018, fans are hoping the England squad will come of age in this tournament. The Three Lions are second favourites to win the competition in the Euro 2020 odds, behind the current World Cup holders, France, at 5/1. Here are the players who we expect to be England’s most pivotal this summer.
1. Harry Kane
Given his reputation as one of the best strikers in the world, it would be surprising if Harry Kane doesn’t make an impression at this summer’s tournament. The Tottenham talisman has been in fine form this season, despite being in a Spurs team that has had an indifferent season. After winning the Golden Boot in the 2018 Russia World Cup, England fans will be hoping for more goalscoring exploits from a player considered to be the team’s main attacking threat. However, Kane has been suffering with an ankle injury this season, so keeping him fit will be of paramount importance.
2. Raheem Sterling
Another player who is expected to play a major role this summer is winger Raheem Sterling. He has just helped Manchester City to secure a third Premier League title in four years, so he should be full of confidence. While Sterling has played less games than in the 2019-20 season, with Man City manager Pep Guardiola rotating his squad to use Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez, his record of just over one goal contribution every two games across all competitions is still impressive. It’s likely that Sterling will be a starter for the Three Lions, and Southgate, who recently responded to a press question about Sterling’s future by pointing to the player’s “excellent” goalscoring record, will be hoping Sterling’s pace and trickery will be an effective outlet at Euro 2020.
3. Marcus Rashford
One of the most prominent players in the country at the moment, Rashford’s place in the England squad is all but certain. His track record representing England over the past few years has been phenomenal, and his Premier League performances this season indicate that he is at the top of his game. The only real concern right now is his fitness, as Rashford has been recovering from an ankle injury over the last few months.
4. Phil Foden
20-year-old Phil Foden has rapidly emerged as a force to be reckoned with in English football. The midfielder may not have a wealth of experience, but it’s clear that his manager Pep Guardiola has plenty of faith in him, given how relentlessly he has been playing him this year. The versatile youngster can be deployed as a wide player but seems to be most comfortable in the number 10 role. Wherever Southgate chooses to use him this summer, expect him to be influential.
For the first time since the fabled ‘Golden Generation’, England look to have a team with quality all over the pitch. While there is still much debate on how England will line up come 13 June, we can virtually guarantee that these guys will make their mark and, just maybe, fire England to a first trophy since 1966.