MARTIN KEOWN’S GUIDE TO THE ENGLAND SQUAD: The lowdown on Gareth Southgate’s 26-man party


England enter Euro 2020 with high expectations and that is no doubt down to the squad that Gareth Southgate has at his disposal.

The Three Lions boast a stronger group than the one that reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2018. With a mix of young talent and senior experience, Southgate will know that this team can go far in the tournament.

Here, Sportsmail’s Martin Keown gives you the lowdown on Southgate’s full 26-man squad from ‘workaholic’ Mason Mount to back-three specialist Conor Coady ahead of Sunday’s opening game against Croatia.   

Gareth Southgate has a strong 26-man England squad at his disposal for this summer's Euros

Gareth Southgate has a strong 26-man England squad at his disposal for this summer’s Euros

Goalkeepers 

1. Jordan Pickford (Everton)

AGE: 27 CAPS: 31 GOALS: 0

Southgate’s No 1. Pickford strikes the ball as well as any goalkeeper that England have had. This weapon can be used to launch attacks with long balls into the channels. He was one of the stand-out performers of the 2018 World Cup. For Everton, he’s made mistakes and has been criticised for that.

For England, Southgate has got the best out of him, and this seems to be real trust between manager and player. Pickford wears his heart on his sleeve and can be emotional, so will need to work to keep that in check. 

Jordan Pickford is Southgate's No 1 and his distribution could be key for the Three Lions

Jordan Pickford is Southgate's No 1 and his distribution could be key for the Three Lions

Jordan Pickford is Southgate’s No 1 and his distribution could be key for the Three Lions

13. Dean Henderson (Manchester United)

AGE: 24 CAPS: 1 GOALS: 0

Henderson boasts the best save percentage of any goalkeeper in the Premier League from his 13 appearances last season.

He has little-to-no international experience with England – with only a 45-minute appearance against the Republic of Ireland in a friendly last November to his name. 

The 24-year-old Manchester United shot-stopper didn’t appear in either of England’s pre-Euro 2020 warm-up matches. 

23. Sam Johnstone (West Brom)

AGE: 28 CAPS: 1 GOALS: 0

Johnstone made more saves than anyone in the Premier League last season. Like Henderson, he only has one cap, after playing the full 90 minutes against Romania. 

That means he’s now got twice as many England minutes as Henderson. The 28-year-old will need to be providing support for Pickford but if called upon, he needs to be ready himself. Johnstone produced an excellent save to deny Romania an equaliser. 

Defenders 

2. Kyle Walker (Manchester City) 

AGE: 31 CAPS: 55 GOALS: 0

Walker arrives at this tournament in the best form of his career. He is a player with tremendous pace but what is impressing me most now is his intelligence in how he is using that pace.

The 31-year-old will fly forward, burst past people and supply excellent balls into the box, but he’ll know when to expertly apply his speed to get back and provide cover. Walker is used to winning, and he brings a lot of drive and determination to Southgate’s squad. 

James will have to compete with Kyle Walker, who won the Premier League and reached the Champions League final this term

James will have to compete with Kyle Walker, who won the Premier League and reached the Champions League final this term

James is another promising young talent with the 21-year-old in the hunt for a right-back spot in Southgate's line-up

James is another promising young talent with the 21-year-old in the hunt for a right-back spot in Southgate's line-up

Kyle Walker (L) and Reece James (R) are two of three right backs competing for the starting XI 

3. Luke Shaw (Manchester United) 

AGE: 25 CAPS: 10 GOALS: 0

Shaw has totally rebuilt his career. Under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, Shaw showed a great deal of dignity when he was publicly being criticised by his manager. 

He burst on to the scene in a Southampton shirt at age 16 and then debuted for England at 18, seven years ago. It’s been a slow and challenging road, but excitingly he now finds himself on the verge of starting for England at Euro 2020, either as a left back, on the left of a back three or as a left wing-back. 

5. John Stones (Manchester City) 

AGE: 27 CAPS: 42 GOALS: 2

Since Stones’ return to the Manchester City team, he has formed one half of an outstanding partnership with Ruben Dias. His displays needed to be faultless, such are the standards of Pep Guardiola.

Stones has grown in confidence, both with and without the ball, and he possesses a full repertoire of passes. In one v one situations, he can occasionally be beaten for pace, but the 27-year-old has been excellent in his decision-making overall.

He will be looking to rekindle what has the making of a fine pairing with Maguire. 

Harry Maguire is a nailed-on starter when fit and his commanding presence will be missed

Harry Maguire is a nailed-on starter when fit and his commanding presence will be missed

Harry Maguire is a nailed-on starter when fit and his commanding presence will be missed 

6. Harry Maguire (Manchester United) 

AGE: 28 CAPS: 32 GOALS: 3

Maguire is a nailed-on starter if fully fit. He was another outstanding performer from the 2018 World Cup in Russia. In that tournament he was dominant in both boxes.

He missed the last five games of the season for Manchester United but he’s so integral to the team that I understand why Southgate is willing to wait for him. He’s got a big-game mentality. He’s calm in possession and passes with real purpose. 

12. Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid) 

AGE: 30 CAPS: 28 GOALS: 1

Trippier just won the Spanish title with Atletico Madrid and is brimming with confidence. Whether he is asked to play right back and right wing-back by Southgate, we know he will give an excellent performance.

The quality of his free-kick taking and delivery from wide positions continue to stand out, as it did during the 2018 World Cup, including when opened the scoring against Croatia in the semi finals. He will be looking to repeat that in Sunday’s opening game. 

15. Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa)

AGE: 28 CAPS: 10 GOALS: 0

This has been a meteoric rise for Mings. In three years at Bournemouth, he made just 23 appearances. Since joining Dean Smith at Aston Villa, he’s transformed his career and now he could start for England at Euro 2020.

The left-footed centre back played the full 90 minutes in the final warm-up against Romania and there were a few lapses in concentration. He needs to mark better in the box and pick and choose better when to deal with his opponent. 

Conor Coady is a back three specialist and will look to make his mark on the international game

Conor Coady is a back three specialist and will look to make his mark on the international game

Conor Coady is a back three specialist and will look to make his mark on the international game

16. Conor Coady (Wolves)

AGE: 28 CAPS: 5 GOALS: 1

Coady is a back three specialist. He’s played in that system for several seasons for Wolves, apart from a handful of times in 2020-21 when they used a back four. He is very commanding in the centre of the back three.

He can play raking diagonal passes into the wide players and he reads the game well. Coady now has to prove that he belongs at international level. 

21. Ben Chilwell (Chelsea)

AGE: 24 CAPS: 14 GOALS: 0

After a slow start under Thomas Tuchel, Chilwell made the left wing-back position his own. The 24-year-old gas grown in confidence and is a real talent.

He gets into high positions, whips in good crosses and has that intelligence in linking up. I admire his directness.

He’s just claimed a Champions League winners’ medal as a left wing-back, and can handle whatever Euro 2020 throws at him. 

Ben Chilwell's confidence will be soaring and he will believe he belongs at this level

Ben Chilwell's confidence will be soaring and he will believe he belongs at this level

Ben Chilwell’s confidence will be soaring and he will believe he belongs at this level 

22. Ben White (Brighton) 

AGE: 23 CAPS: 2 GOALS: 0

After his assured and impressive performance against Romania, it seems rational for Southgate to have called up White with questions marks surrounding Henderson and Maguire.

White can play in defence or midfield and there is a calmness to his game. He’s only got two caps to his name, but the 23-year-old passed his audition against Romania and there is a possibility he might have played his way into the XI against Croatia. 

24. Reece James (Chelsea)

AGE: 21 CAPS: 6 GOALS: 0

Another one of England’s hugely talented youngsters. Whether on the right of a back three or as a right wing-back, James has excelled for Chelsea. He’s tough and tenacious.

With Trippier and Walker for competition, James is the least experienced of the right-sided options. But James possesses the perfect top-level mentality to win things, as his recent success in the Champions League has shown. 

Midfielders 

4. Declan Rice (West Ham)

AGE: 22 CAPS: 17 GOALS: 1

Prior to this season, Rice looked like a centre back trying to play in midfield. But now he looks like a top-drawer defensive midfield player in his own right. He’s developed every facet of his game, particularly when it comes to passing.

When receiving the ball, Rice now opens up his body and looks to play it forward whenever possible. Defensively he needs to be given clear instructions of where to be. He’s still developing as a player but is someone Southgate can trust. 

8. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

AGE: 30 CAPS: 59 GOALS: 0

Southgate has always seen star quality in Henderson. He likes his leadership and felt it was necessary to call him up, despite the fact he has not played for Liverpool since February.

It was a huge plus for Southgate to have been able to introduce Henderson at half-time against Romania – his first appearance in four months. Now he seems over the injury, England will be doing everything they can with a careful plan to get him fully fit for when it matters most. 

Jordan Henderson's leadership will be crucial but questions remain over his fitness status

Jordan Henderson's leadership will be crucial but questions remain over his fitness status

Jordan Henderson’s leadership will be crucial but questions remain over his fitness status 

14. Kalvin Phillips (Leeds)

AGE: 25 CAPS: 8 GOALS: 0

When Southgate first called up Phillips last August, he’d not yet kicked a ball in the Premier League. England’s manager kept a close eye on him in the Championship. Phillips doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his passing and is incredibly athletic.

He’s been instrumental in the midfield of an all-action Leeds side. He’s got an excellent defensive compass and knows where to provide cover. The 25-year-old just needs to believe he belongs at this level. 

19. Mason Mount (Chelsea)

AGE: 22 CAPS: 16 GOALS: 4

Mount enjoyed a truly outstanding season. Any doubts that surrounded this player have surely now disappeared after his Champions League success for Chelsea.

He’s been a workaholic, probably covering more ground than any other player and working between the midfield two and front players while adding killer passes to his game.

He’s started every England game since last October, except for the two pre-Euro 2020 warm-ups due to his involvement in the Champions League final. He’ll be hoping to match his club success on the international stage. 

Mason Mount is a workaholic and there can be no doubts about his quality after this season

Mason Mount is a workaholic and there can be no doubts about his quality after this season

Mason Mount is a workaholic and there can be no doubts about his quality after this season

26. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)

AGE: 17 CAPS: 4 GOALS: 0

Bellingham is in a hurry to get to the very top. Having moved to Borussia Dortmund from Birmingham at 17 years old, he’s a real driving force in midfield and demands the ball from his more senior colleagues.

Bellingham looks way more mature than his years. He can go from box to box and pick a pass. This teenager isn’t in England’s Euro 2020 squad to merely gain experience. He’s there to push for a starting place and win the whole tournament. 

Jack Grealish could be the star of the show and there are calls for him to start on Sunday

Jack Grealish could be the star of the show and there are calls for him to start on Sunday

Jack Grealish could be the star of the show and there are calls for him to start on Sunday

Forwards 

7. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)

AGE: 25 CAPS: 7 GOALS: 0

Grealish could be the star of the show. The reason he is football’s most-fouled player is every time he gets the ball he runs right at the heart of the opposition. He’s that good they cannot stop him and so they foul him.

We saw how he won the penalty against Romania which enabled England to head into Euro 2020 off the back of a win. He’s happy to have the ball in all situations. The question is: where does Southgate use him and in what system? England’s manager must be tempted to start him against Croatia. 

9. Harry Kane (Tottenham)

AGE: 27 CAPS: 54 GOALS: 34

Kane finished last season on a high with 23 goals and 14 assists in the Premier League. Much has been said about Kane and Tottenham’s failure to win trophies.

Kane will see this tournament as a massive opportunity for him to not only win the Golden Boot but also a chance to claim the ultimate prize by winning a trophy for his country.

He is ruthless in front of goal and has proven in the last season how he has further developed his game. 

Harry Kane is ruthless in front of the goal and will be looking to win the Golden Boot

Harry Kane is ruthless in front of the goal and will be looking to win the Golden Boot

Harry Kane is ruthless in front of the goal and will be looking to win the Golden Boot 

10. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

AGE: 26 CAPS: 61 GOALS: 14

Sterling has become an essential player for his country. The final third is where Southgate has a wealth of talent and major decisions to make.

In his last 26 international games, Sterling has scored 12 goals, and has become a crucial member of Southgate’s XI.

But after failing to remain a regular starter in the Manchester City towards the end of the last season, his England place now comes under enormous pressure. 

11. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

AGE: 23 CAPS: 41 GOALS: 12

The positions on either side of Kane are very much up for grabs and as good a player as Rashford is, he’s under pressure for his starting position. He had a quiet end to the season for Manchester United.

If England fail to dominate possession and are pushed back, then Rashford’s pace is something that could be particularly dangerous on the counter-attack.

After the low of losing the Europa League final, he’ll want to finish his international season on a high. 

17. Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)

AGE: 21 CAPS: 19 GOALS: 3

Sancho runs with the ball beautifully. This tournament is a chance for him to replicant the form he produces for Borussia Dortmund. He showed flashes of that against Romania but there is a lot more under the bonnet.

He links up intelligently with Erling Haaland and England would love for him to strike a similar relationship with Kane.

Sancho can operate on either wing, though Southgate likes using the 21-year-old on the right-hand side. 

Southgate will want Jadon Sancho to replicate his partnership with Erling Haaland with Kane

Southgate will want Jadon Sancho to replicate his partnership with Erling Haaland with Kane

Southgate will want Jadon Sancho to replicate his partnership with Erling Haaland with Kane

18. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)

AGE: 24 CAPS: 9 GOALS: 4

Calvert-Lewin is exceptional in the air. That leap against Austria was something else. He jumped over the opposition defender and nearly out of the ground.

He’ll miss having Carlo Ancelotti as his manager at Everton because his game really grew under him, particularly when it comes to being more of a fox in the box. 

Calvert-Lewin can burst into channels with pace, hold up the ball and link up play. That makes him a worthy deputy to Kane. 

20. Phil Foden (Manchester City)

AGE: 21 CAPS: 6 GOALS: 2

Foden is possibly the most naturally gifted individual in the group and he’s learned so much from Guardiola. He started England’s last two World Cup qualifiers in March and I firmly expect him to be starting against Croatia on Sunday.

On top of that natural talent, he now makes intelligent runs with and without the ball. Foden started in the Champions League final and is as ready as he will ever be to represent England at a major tournament. 

Phil Foden is probably the most gifted player in the squad and is ready for the big stage

Phil Foden is probably the most gifted player in the squad and is ready for the big stage

Phil Foden is probably the most gifted player in the squad and is ready for the big stage 

25. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

AGE: 19 CAPS: 5 GOALS: 1

Everything that Saka does is at high speed and for a player of 19 years old, he’s shown great progression. He can play on either side of Kane if required, or Southgate could name him as a surprise left wing back over Shaw or Chilwell.

England’s manager has used him there in the past. Saka looked like he belonged at this level in last week’s friendly with Austria. 



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