Will both Mason Mount and Jack Grealish be in Gareth Southgate's England starting XI?
With Euro 2020 kicking off on Friday evening and England’s first game just two days away, the time is nigh for Gareth Southgate to finalise his selection for their tournament opener against Croatia on Sunday June 13.
Southgate will need to decide whether he goes all guns blazing for the opener and picks his best squad available, or look to manage the campaign in the knowledge that the games against Scotland and the Czech Republic follow soon after.
Here, our writers select the team they would deploy against Croatia.
(4-3-1-2): Pickford; James, Stones, Coady, Shaw; Bellingham, Rice, Mount; Grealish; Rashford, Kane
I would opt for Jack Grealish just ahead of Phil Foden, as he regularly flourishes in the bigger games. For the Croatia game I’d also rest Jordan Henderson and go with Jude Bellingham in a midfield three.
(4-2-3-1): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Mings, Shaw; Rice, Mount; Foden, Grealish, Rashford; Kane
On the basis that attack is always the best policy, forget all ideas of back fives and two holding midfielders and just go for it. Foden, Grealish and Mount are England’s best hopes: play them all.
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(4-1-2-3): Pickford; James; Stones, Mings, Chilwell; Rice; Mount, Grealish; Foden, Kane, Rashford
After a poor end to the season, Rashford’s performance against Romania has persuaded me to go for a more attacking line up. Much will depend on Rice here doing his best Kante impression in front of the back four, but this gets England’s best players on the pitch and the full backs are the best defensively in those positions to balance an otherwise cavalier approach.
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Credit: in June 02, 2021 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths – The FA/The FA via Getty Images
(3-4-3): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Shaw; James, Phillips, Rice, Chilwell; Foden, Kane, Grealish
Without Harry Maguire, the back three seems to be the best option for this opening fixture. A centre-back pairing of John Stones and Tyrone Mings could be easily exposed, so bringing Luke Shaw into the back three provides more security. The wing-backs will provide the width, allowing England to start with creative players such as Phil Foden, Mason Mount or Jack Grealish behind Harry Kane. Foden surely has to start towards the right of the attack, leaving Grealish and Mount in a scrap for the role on the left. Grealish deserves it on the basis of his performances in the warm-up fixtures.
(4-2-3-1): Pickford; James, White, Stones, Chilwell; Rice, Bellingham; Foden, Mount, Sterling; Kane
Without Harry Maguire, Gareth Southgate must have gone through multiple permutations. Mason Mount has to be in, and although the clamour for Jack Grealish is understandable, there has to be pace upfront. That means Sterling keeps his place despite his loss of form. Ben White looks as capable as any of the centre-backs, despite his late inclusion.
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HAVE YOUR SAY: Our team of writers have selected their preferred England starting XIs. What do you think of their choices? Let us know in the comments section below.