Euro 2020 postponed
COVID-19 has caused major disruption to the sporting world in recent months.
The majority of club football across the globe has been suspended for the time being, with the Premier League not set to return until at least the 30th of April.
International football has also been affected by the spread of coronavirus across the world.
The major sporting event of this summer was supposed to be Euro 2020.
However, given the current situation, both Euro 2020 and the upcoming Copa America tournament have been pushed back until the summer of 2021.
England’s next generation
The postponement of the Euros is obviously not ideal, and the health of the world should be a bigger concern at this moment in time.
But the Euros being suspended for at least another year could have a positive impact for a number of young English talents, and potentially the England national side as a whole.
There are a plethora of promising young talents who are beginning to be handed first-team chances in the Premier League.
Mason Greenwood has certainly been Manchester United’s surprise package this term.
Despite being just 18 years of age, Greenwood has already garnered 36 appearances for United’s senior side this season, in which the centre-forward has showcased his outstanding finishing ability.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 12, 2020
The likes of Dean Henderson, Fikayo Tomori, Bukayo Saka, Reece James and Phil Foden have also looked extremely promising for their respective clubs this term.
But as the Euros was scheduled to take place around three months from now, most of those aforementioned players probably didn’t have enough first-team experience to warrant Gareth Southgate picking them for a major tournament.
However, with the Euros now over a year away, a lot of those stars could do enough in the forthcoming campaign to change Southgate’s mind.
As a result, the squad that Southgate picks next year could be vastly different from the one he would have named this summer.
With this in mind, here is how England could line up for their first game of Euro 2021.
A change between the sticks
For the majority of Southgate’s tenure in charge of England, Jordan Pickford has been the country’s number one.
The Everton man put in some stellar displays during the 2018 World Cup, and is pretty good with his feet.
And as Southgate likes to get his side to play out from the back, it is easy to see why he has opted to stick with Pickford for so long.
But whilst Pickford is decent with his feet, his shot-stopping ability hasn’t always been top-drawer, especially this term.
After Manchester United and Everton drew 1-1 at the beginning of March, it was reported that since the start of last season, Pickford has made the joint-most errors leading to goals in the Premier League (7).
So, should Pickford keep putting on questionable displays, Southgate may opt to give Dean Henderson a chance next summer, providing he keeps up his superb form.
Henderson has spent the last two seasons on loan at Sheffield United. And before this campaign was curtailed, the Blades boasted the second-best defence in the English top-flight, conceding just 25 goals in 28 outings.
As we move onto England’s back four, you would imagine that there will not be a huge chance at right-back or in one of the centre-back spots.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is arguably one of the top full-backs in world football right now, and should only improve ahead of Euro 2021.
Reece James has been sensational this term, and is in with a good shout of being England’s second-choice. But you would think TAA will have that position tied down heading into next summer.
Harry Maguire is also likely to retain his place in England’s back-four, as there aren’t an awful lot of quality English centre-halves right now.
Next to Maguire, a big case could certainly be made for Joe Gomez occupying that spot, as he has been in top form of late.
However, if Fikayo Tomori has an impressive 2020/21, the Chelsea defender could provide some much-needed competition at the back.
As for the left-back spot, Ben Chilwell seems to be Southgate’s main choice right now, with Danny Rose as backup.
But with Rose ageing and Chilwell not overly impressive, Euro 2021 could see the emergence of both the aforementioned Saka and Man United’s Brandon Williams as full-backs for England.
Williams has already made 26 appearances for United’s senior side, in which he has looked excellent.
A familiar midfield
As already mentioned above, Phil Foden is one of a number of young English talents rising through the ranks.
The Man City star has put on some outstanding displays this term, and with another year’s experience under his belt, he should have proved himself enough to earn a place on the plane.
However, Foden is faced with a lot of competition from England’s attacking-midfield options, as Mason Mount, James Maddison, Jack Grealish and Dele Alli will also be vying for a spot in the starting eleven.
So, we are unlikely to see too much change in the Three Lions’ midfield, with Jordan Henderson, Harry Winks and one of the above-mentioned players likely to take up the spots.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could also earn a spot at Euro 2021, providing he stays fit and plays enough.
Greenwood to make it on the plane?
Much like the midfield, England’s attacking trio will probably be fairly similar to the one that would have featured this year.
Harry Kane is certainly going to be starting, with Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling the main contenders to join him.
We could, however, see Mason Greenwood bag himself a place at the next Euros, should he start to earn some more minutes in the coming year.
England’s starting line-up
England’s bench: Pickford, James, Tomori, Rice, Mount, Greenwood, Sterling.
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