WITH England having confirmed their place at Euro 2020 ahead of the finals draw in eight days’ time, thoughts are turning to the likely make-up of Gareth Southgate’s squad for next summer. This would be my 23-man selection, assuming everyone stays fit…


Tom Heaton, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope

(Missing out: Fraser Forster, Dean Henderson)

The goalkeeping ranks will not cause Southgate too many headaches over the next few months, provided his key players avoid injury.

For that all he can produce the occasional error, Jordan Pickford remains firmly established as England’s number one, with Burnley’s Nick Pope also now cemented in the squad. If anything was to happen to Pickford, Pope would start.

The third goalkeeper slot tends to be something of a waste, but you have to cover yourself and Aston Villa’s Tom Heaton has performed well enough to justify his inclusion ahead of the likes of Dean Henderson, Fraser Forster or Jack Butland,


Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Joe Gomez, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker

(Missing out: Michael Keane, Tyrone Mings, Luke Shaw, Fikayo Tomori, Aaron Wan-Bissaka)

Things start to get interesting once we turn to the defence. Personally, I’d still be tempted to play with five at the back, especially if England were to find themselves in a knock-out game against top-class opposition, but Southgate seems wedded to a flat back four so the squad has been selected with an assumption that system remains in place.

Harry Maguire is nailed on for a centre-half spot, with Joe Gomez increasingly looking like the best bet to play alongside him. John Stones has had his issues with both club and country over the last couple of seasons, but he remains one of England’s leading centre-halves. If he could hold down a place in the Manchester City team, he could yet force himself in the starting line-up.

Beyond that? Tyrone Mings and Fikayo Tomori have featured in the last couple of squads and are emerging talents. Michael Keane’s career has gone in the opposite direction, and his chance has surely now gone. I’d go for a bit more of a wildcard though and select Kyle Walker. He could play at right-back, as a centre-half in a back five, or at a push, even at the heart of a back four. Southgate appears to have decided he can do without him, but I wouldn’t be so sure.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is England’s first-choice right-back, and with Aaron Wan-Bissaka flattering to deceive somewhat at Manchester United, Kieran Trippier gets the nod as the back-up.

On the opposite flank, Ben Chilwell has come on in leaps and bounds in the last couple of years and now looks one of the best left-backs in Europe. Luke Shaw is another player struggling at Old Trafford, so by process of elimination, Danny Rose makes the cut.


Dele Alli, Ross Barkley, Jordan Henderson, James Maddison, Mason Mount, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Harry Winks

(Missing out: Fabian Delph, Jack Grealish, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Declan Rice)

Traditionally, England squads have tended to include eight out-and-out midfielders. However, with Southgate playing a 4-3-3 formation and favouring attackers who can drop slightly deeper if required, I’ve only selected seven to accommodate an extra forward. Even with a couple of injuries, that should be sufficient.

Let’s start with the most notable absentee – Declan Rice. Southgate has settled on the West Ham man as the anchor of the England midfield, but without mincing words, I haven’t seen anything to convince me he’s good enough for international level. His performance in the Czech Republic was one of the worst I’ve seen in an England shirt for a long time.

Without Rice, England look short of holding midfield options, but that’s been a perennial weakness and it will have to be a case of making do. Jordan Henderson can fill the role perfectly adequately, albeit having to constrain some of his natural desire to forage forward, and in Harry Winks, England have discovered a different type of midfield fulcrum. Winks’ passing ability and comfort on the ball could be crucial, especially if England find themselves in another knockout game against a side like Croatia, who proved their nemesis at the last World Cup.

Ross Barkley’s performances in an England shirt merit his inclusion – he always seem to be more effective for his country than with Chelsea – and James Maddison and Mason Mount have been two of the stars of the season so far. If they maintain their form over the rest of the campaign, they could find themselves starting next summer.

The same could be true of Jack Grealish if he excels over the next six months, but as things stand, the Aston Villa man just falls short. Instead, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s experience and versatility get him the nod.


Tammy Abraham, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling

(Missing out: Callum Hudson-Odoi, Callum Wilson)

Selecting seven midfielders means there is room for five forwards, which is surely a must if Southgate sticks with a three-man attack.

Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling are guaranteed starters, and are likely to hold the key to England’s prospects in the finals. Marcus Rashford’s form has waxed and waned in the last 12 months, but he has been consistently effective on the international stage and is currently the man in possession of the third starting spot in the England attack.

Jadon Sancho has been pushing him hard, and while the Borussia Dortmund youngster can be inconsistent, he is one of the most exciting prospects in Europe. If he continues to progress over the second half of the season, he could be in even better shape by the time the tournament comes around.

The final attacking spot has to go to a central striker as Southgate has to cover himself in case anything was to happen to Kane. Callum Wilson will have his supporters, but Tammy Abraham has silenced his doubters in emphatic fashion with Chelsea this season and earned a deserved place in the squad.