Name Your Euros Squad by Dan Smith
As some readers will know, international breaks are usually the time I spend forming random lists to use up the time.
I had England vs Albania on in the background – but let’s be honest, following the Three Lions in qualifiers is like two weeks without competitive Football.
So, I thought this was an ideal opportunity to do what many on social media have been doing, put together my 23-man England squad to go to the Euros.
Before someone writes that this Is an Arsenal forum, admin very kindly allowed me to include content for the last World Cup (which proved popular), so I assume I’ll be doing the same this summer?
Plus, it’s a bit of fun and interaction.
What’s great is I know we have some readers not just from England, so I would love in the comments to read various squads for the nation you support.
To clarify this is what I would do – not what I think Gareth Southgate decides on.
While he’s been media friendly and a good man manager, when we face a tough fixture, he will revert to what makes him comfortable and that’s being cautious and conservative. Against a France for example, I can see him going for three at the back which takes away your options in the attacking midfield position, which other managers would build around given the quality we have in that role.
Here is what MY England squad would look like:
Gk – (Martinez), Pickford, Pope, Henderson
First thing I would do is contact Martinez’s peeps and see if he is open to playing for England, a rule that I would assume old school Southgate would be against?
It would take guaranteeing him he would play at the Euros to turn his back on Argentina, but that’s what I would prefer to do given his season with Aston Villa.
Maybe it’s up to him to reach out?
If it got leaked that Southgate was being turned down by Martinez to be our GK, it’s a public lack of faith in his current options.
Martinez moved to the UK as a teenager and became an adult in England, so despite being very much Argentine it’s not like he has zero connection with his adopted nation.
I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t see in Pickford what Southgate does. Unlike a Pope and Henderson, he makes too many mistakes.
Having stuck with him for so long though I wouldn’t be messing round with my keepers on the eve of a tournament (unless Martinez picks up the phone).
LB – Chilwell, Shaw
RB – Arnold, Trippier
The formation that Southgate plays means that his full backs are crucial to the system.
England have an incredible choice of right backs, some who in any other era would win so many more caps.
Southgate has already made it clear that tactically Arnold doesn’t fit into his ethos. He didn’t make our first team when he was winning the Premiership or Champions League so won’t now given Liverpool’s season.
Alternatively, he’s stuck with Trippier when he was struggling at Spurs so will rate him even more now, he’s about to win La Liga with one of the best defensive coaches in the world, Simeone.
I’m not just basing my selection on a few months.
Arnold’s delivery separates him from his peers, and he would be in my starting 11.
CB- Maguire, Stones. Mings, Dier
If Southgate plays 3 at the back, he might pick as many as 6 centre backs.
In the fantasy world where I’m manager, I’ll be fielding a 4-3-3 so need to only pick 4 centre backs.
Don’t get me wrong, based on form Dier doesn’t deserve to be called up and it’s harsh on the likes of Keane and Coady.
However, with only 23 options you have to be creative. Dier can play in two positions which frees up a space for an attacking player.
CM – Henderson, Rice, Mount, Foden, Grealish,
This is where Southgate will come unstuck. What separates a great manager to an average one is having the ambition to fit in the likes of Mount, Foden and Grealish into the same team.
Even by Dier catering for two positions freeing up an attacking option, I can’t fit Maddison into my plans.
Southgate is likely to prioritise a Kelvin Phillips over flair.
Due to his leadership qualities, I’ll give Henderson a chance to prove his fitness.
LM / RM -Sterling, Sancho, Saka, Rashford
If Mount, Foden and Grealish are in the same team you could argue only 1 out of these 4 will start.
Saka Is a good versatility option that every squad needs. A lot of injuries and you can call upon a talent who can play in 5 different positions.
How come every time there is a tournament fans and pundits seem to question Sterling?
CF – Kane, Calvert-Lewin, Ings
Kane obviously starts up front with two wingers either side.
You only need a plan B unless our captain got injured or we need a goal with 15 minutes to go.
We don’t need any more firepower than three strikers.
Give me your squad in the Comments.