Euro 2024 team guides part 10: England

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This article is portion of nan Guardian’s Euro 2024 Experts’ Network, a practice betwixt immoderate of nan champion media organisations from nan 24 countries who qualified. theguardian.com is moving previews from 2 countries each time successful nan run-up to nan tourney kicking disconnected connected 14 June.

Prospects

Let nan psychodrama commence. England are nan champion squad successful nan world. It would beryllium an enactment of precocious treason if they neglect to triumph Euro 2024. It would beryllium because they’re woke. It would beryllium because their players erstwhile took nan knee. But also, is anyone other worried astir nan deficiency of disposable left-backs and nan problematic 3rd midfield spot? Wait a minute. Are England moreover going to get retired of their group? Why are each nan defenders injured? Did Gareth Southgate watch Harry Winks this season?

Opinions tin beryllium utmost erstwhile it comes to assessing England earlier a tournament. The reality is that they are astir apt nan second-best squad successful Europe. A imaginable rematch pinch France, who knocked England retired of nan 2022 World Cup, would beryllium fascinating. England were adjacent to winning nan quarter-final successful Qatar. They whitethorn good person gone done if Harry Kane had scored that 2nd penalty.

The margins are impossibly fine. England should person won Euro 2020, only for be aware to beryllium their undoing erstwhile they mislaid connected penalties to Italy successful nan final. Since then, though, nan squad has improved. They breezed done qualifying, finishing comfortably clear of Italy and Ukraine, and boast a wealthiness of attacking talent. Supporting Kane will beryllium Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden, pinch Declan Rice operating midfield. Cole Palmer could beryllium astir for a penalty.

But nan accustomed doubts persist. England’s main left-back, Luke Shaw, has missed astir of nan season. The defence could beryllium susceptible against elite opposition. The correct equilibrium successful midfield remains elusive and Southgate still has to beryllium he has nan tactical chops to triumph a really large game. The thought they should waltz to nan trophy is thing much than nan accustomed overheated hype.

The coach

This could beryllium Gareth Southgate’s past hurrah. His statement expires successful December and he almost walked distant aft nan past World Cup. Perhaps he goes retired successful a blaze of glory. Maybe he slinks retired aft different quarter-final exit. Maybe he simply keeps nan FA happy by staying for nan 2026 World Cup. The FA won’t want Southgate to go. There are morganatic questions complete his tactics, and he does look to person a unsighted spot pinch a definite Manchester United centre-back, but nan 53-year-old remains an asset. Players erstwhile dreaded world duty. Southgate, a changeless beacon of calm, dignity and intelligence, has turned nan campy into a happy place.

The icon

“His mentality is incredible,” Southgate says of Jude Bellingham, nan 20-year-old superstar who has spent nan play tearing it up astatine Real Madrid. A big of clutch goals, a postulation of man-of-the-match performances, a first Champions League final: it’s not nan worst measurement to denote yourself aft joining nan biggest nine successful nan world for £88.5m. “For us, evidently he’s nan best,” says nan Madrid coach, Carlo Ancelotti, though it remains to beryllium seen if Bellingham tin thrust his state to glory. One flimsy interest is hints of a temper. Let’s dream he isn’t having an early bath aft stamping connected a winking Cristiano Ronaldo.

England’s Jude Bellingham is tackled by Brazil’s Lucas Paqueta during nan world friends lucifer against Brazil successful March 2024.
England’s Jude Bellingham attempts to evade nan attraction of Lucas Paqueta and his Brazilian teammates. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Observer

One to watch

Kobbie Mainoo showed nary fearfulness erstwhile he made his afloat debut against Belgium successful March. The 19-year-old midfielder was cool successful possession and was a uncommon affirmative for Manchester United past season, scoring 1 of their goals successful nan FA Cup last triumph complete Manchester City. It takes thing to radiance successful that environment. England must beryllium a doddle by comparison. “He is taking everything in,” Southgate said successful March. “Talking to him tactically, he seems capable to return each those concepts on. You tin spot his comfortableness pinch nan shot and receiving successful tight areas.”

The maverick

The youngest of 4 brothers, Conor Gallagher learned really to toughen up from an early age. The siblings often played shot successful nan plot and 1 of his brothers, Jake, erstwhile said: “We would hit him up truthful galore times, and he would conscionable laughter astatine us. He was a madman.” A reliable cardinal midfielder, he does not ever cognize erstwhile to extremity connected nan transportation and was sent disconnected aft 2 yellowish cards successful nan first half against Brighton this season. But Mauricio Pochettino showed religion successful him and moreover gave him nan armband astatine Chelsea this season. Blues fans are not impressed pinch nan club’s determination to perceive to offers for him this summer.

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The spine

There is simply a familiarity to elements of nan team. Jordan Pickford has been England’s No 1 since 2018 and has ne'er fto nan squad down. John Stones is captious successful cardinal defence, Kyle Walker’s velocity astatine right-back makes him a mandatory prime and Southgate will not want to ideate a world successful which Harry Kane, skipper and grounds goalscorer, is injured. But nan emergence of others person helped nan broadside develop. Declan Rice has go undroppable successful midfield. He wins nan shot backmost and allows Bellingham to thrust forward. The interest is that England deficiency a replacement for Rice. They are fortunate he is truthful durable.

Probable starting XI:

England probable lineup
England probable lineup

Celebrity fan

Who tin hide nan half-time intermezo during England’s triumph complete Wales successful Qatar? Those coming astatine nan Janoub Stadium watched successful awe – aliases disorder – arsenic 90s popular sensation Chesney Hawkes performed that opus he does. “This is nan first stadium gig I’ve done successful 30 years,” he said earlier nan large show. “It’s conscionable nan 1 opus and nary guessing for what opus I’m going to do. I could astir apt singing that opus successful my sleep.”

Culinary delight

Something fried, covered successful basking sauce, successful a bun. Yes, you’ll person nan other cheese. And nan bacon. Crispy onions too. The benignant of point that fills nutrient influencer Eating With Tod’s Instagram feed. It has to travel from a nutrient tribunal and beryllium accompanied by loaded fries, served by a trendy tattooed man called Milo who keeps saying “My guy”. Once finished, caput to a large screen, bargain immoderate overpriced beer, propulsion it connected personification erstwhile England score. Also propulsion it connected personification erstwhile England suffer connected penalties.

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Source theguardian
theguardian