With England facing the Netherlands on 6 June, here is the England line-up that I believe Gareth Southgate should field on the day. Keep an eye out for the controversial suggestions…
Formation: 4-3-3. While this formation provides a solid grounding for defence and attack, it will most likely be the formation that Southgate uses, as he has used it in all of England’s most recent matches.
GK: Jordan Pickford
While Jack Butland is also a good goalkeeper, we cannot field a Championship goalkeeper in the semi-finals of a tournament. Pickford has been solid for the most part of the season, despite some errors that have lead to goals.
And most importantly, he has always proven to be a great performer for his nation, as he demonstrated in last summer’s World Cup.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold
Kyle Walker is a very good player, but it’s time to pass the mantel onto Trent Alexander-Arnold, who could be one of the greatest full-backs of all time.
Yes, I think he’s that good. And yes, I may be deluded…
Bu after assisting 12 goals in the Premier League alone this season, he was named in the PFA Team of the Season, meaning he’s the best right-back in the best league in the world. And he’s only 20!
Over the next few years, I fully expect him to feature in midfield, as he’s simply too good to be wasted at right-back.
CB: Harry Maguire
One of the first names on the team sheet.
The way he drives forward with the ball at his feet is a breath of fresh air, while he has also shown he is capable of scoring important goals. Not to mention he’s a rock at the heart of the defence.
It would be a shame not to see him move to a bigger club this summer, as he’s a player who should be winning trophies.
CB: John Stones
While he has struggled to keep his place in the Manchester City starting line-up this season, this is at no fault of his own.
He was excellent when he played this season, but his competition: Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi, and Aymeric Laporte – three of the best central defenders in the Premier League.
With Vincent Kompany leaving City this season, Stones will surely become a regular in the starting line-up next season.
Excellent on the ball, and having improved a lot regarding his defensive duties, he is a formidable asset to the England squad, much like Maguire.
LB: Ben Chilwell
First of all, it was extremely harsh not to include Shaw in the squad. Especially since Danny Rose was his replacement – a player who was nowhere near as good as the Man Utd man this season.
Shaw even won the player of the season award for Manchester United, which is a great achievement, despite the fact the Red Devils were terrible this season.
Nevertheless, Chilwell has been great for Leicester City this season, and is a good option for England to have.
CM: Dele Alli
A slightly controversial inclusion, given the poor season that Dele Alli has had. With just 7 goals in 37 appearances this season, this is nothing like what we know Dele can produce.
Having scored 22 goals 2 seasons ago, Dele is not currently fulfilling his potential.
However, we must remember he has been struck with injury problems this year. Besides, if we are calling 7 goals a ‘poor’ season from Dele, this is an indicator of how good he is.
While it seems as though Ross Barkley has done well this year, he has in fact only scored 5 goals in 47 appearances.
The Spurs star has unquestionably had a poor season by his standards, but he is still our most creative midfielder by far.
CM: Declan Rice
Declan Rice has proven to be an excellent defensive midfielder for West Ham this season, so much so that he has attracted attention from the Manchester rivals, United and City.
Meanwhile, England fought to steal his allegiance from the Republic of Ireland. At least use him for Ireland’s sake!
CM: Ross Barkley
Despite already partially slagging off Barkley, I did not want to go for the boring option of having Rice and Eric Dier in the same midfield.
This would be too defensive, and England would never get the ball forward to our mouth-watering front three.
The Chelsea man has an eye for a pass, a decent shot on him, and can provide aggression in midfield. He’s a solid choice.
LW: Raheem Sterling
Undoubtedly England’s star player at the moment, Raheem Sterling will likely be the player who makes the difference against the Netherlands.
Having picked up the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award, as well as scoring 26 goals and making 18 assists this season, he has become one of the best players in the world.
The Dutch defenders will be shivering in their boots when they see the ball at his feet.
RW: Jadon Sancho
Sancho has gone from being fairly unknown to being one of the best players in the Bundesliga this season, having scored 12 goals and registered 15 assists.
But he has achieved more than this, as he has become a global sensation for his scintillating performances this season, which have seen him humiliate defenders with skills that English players never possess.
He’s more like Neymar than any other English player. Marcus Rashford is another brilliant option to have, and it wouldn’t be a dreadful decision to start him over Sancho.
But Rashford has proven he can be a great impact substitution with his pace, and he hasn’t had a good enough season to start over Sancho.
ST: Harry Kane
If fit, Kane is going to start. If not, Rashford is a great option as well.
With a World Cup golden boot to his name, as well as 22 goals in just 37 caps for England, it would be foolish to leave the captain out. I don’t care if he f***** up in the Champions League Final.
If we put out this line-up, England will have an exceptional chance of progressing to the UEFA Nations League final. Do you disagree?