How England could line up for Euro 2024 opener: Gareth Southgate’s predicted XI

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How England could line up for Euro 2024 opener: Gareth Southgate’s predicted XI

Sports Mole looks at how Gareth Southgate could line up his England side for their opening Euro 2024 fixture against Serbia on June 16.

Preparations are now complete, flights and hotels are booked, and all focus now turns towards the start of another bid for long-awaited continental glory for England‘s men’s team.

Hoping to emulate the women’s champions of 2022, England endured a mixed period of warm-up friendlies on home turf, firstly putting three unanswered goals past Bosnia-Herzegovina at St James’ Park.

The Three Lions did not put in the most inspiring display on June 3, though, and four days later, Gareth Southgate‘s men cut extremely lacklustre figures in a 1-0 loss to Euro 2016 conquerors Iceland.

England’s 26-man selection for the Euros had already been confirmed before their latest embarrassment at the hands of Our Boys, and Southgate has plenty of food for thought before Group C rivals Serbia await for their opening Euro 2024 tie on June 16.

Here, Sports Mole looks at how England could line up for their showdown with Dragan Stojkovic‘s side at Veltins-Arena.

© Reuters

Could Aaron Ramsdale have done better for Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson‘s Iceland winner? Perhaps, but had he managed to prevent England suffering defeat or not, the Arsenal man will drop out for undisputed first-choice Jordan Pickford anyway.

England's Kyle Walker takes a throw-in on September 9, 2023© Reuters

The oldest player in England’s selection, Kyle Walker may now be 34 years of age, but few wingers get the better of the Manchester City man even in his advancing years.

England's John Stones in action with Iceland's Hakon Arnar Haraldsson on June 7, 2024© Reuters

Expected to be fine after an injury scare against Iceland, John Stones remains an England mainstay despite his lack of Manchester City action, but who partners him is the subject of much uncertainty.

As Harry Maguire is absent, all of Ezri Konsa, Lewis Dunk and Joe Gomez could come into the reckoning, but Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi appears to be at the head of the queue to deputise for the Manchester United man.

Newcastle United's Kieran Trippier arrives at the stadium before the match on December 26, 2023© Reuters

Even if Luke Shaw makes a miraculous recovery in time for the clash with Serbia, the left-back has not played since February and has not been seen in England colours since June 2023, so should not be thrown back into the deep end. As such, the left-back spot is Kieran Trippier’s.

Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring for England on June 3, 2024© Reuters

While Arsenal’s Declan Rice was one of several England players found wanting against Iceland, the £105m midfielder is one of the first names on Southgate’s team sheet and is an unchallenged starter in the middle.

The presences of Adam Wharton, Conor Gallagher and Kobbie Mainoo make Southgate’s other midfield call incredibly complicated, but Trent Alexander-Arnold’s masterful display against Bosnia from a central role could see him get the nod.

England attacker Bukayo Saka pictured on June 19, 2023© Reuters

Whether Bukayo Saka would hold off Cole Palmer for the right-wing spot was the subject of much debate, but the Arsenal star will be fresh and ready to go at the Euros and should demote the Chelsea man to the bench.

England's Jude Bellingham reacts on October 17, 2023© Reuters

Jude Bellingham’s Champions League exploits with Real Madrid denied him the chance to feature in either friendly, but Southgate surely has no option but to build the team around the 20-year-old in the number 10 slot.

Phil Foden warms up for England on November 25, 2022© Reuters

Many want to see Phil Foden unleashed in a central role, and the Manchester City attacker was effective to a degree in such a position against Iceland, but Bellingham’s re-introduction should see Southgate shift the 24-year-old out to the left.

Harry Kane celebrates scoring for England on October 17, 2023© Reuters

Despite his awful miss against Iceland from a few yards out, Harry Kane remains the greatest striker male or female that his nation has ever seen and will spearhead the Three Lions’ charge in Germany barring an injury nightmare.

Sports Mole’s predicted England XI for Serbia clash: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guehi, Trippier; Alexander-Arnold, Rice; Saka, Bellingham, Foden; Kane

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