England continue their march towards Euro 2024 with a clash against Ukraine next month and Gareth Southgate is set to announce his squad this week.
The Three Lions have enjoyed the perfect start to their qualification campaign as they’ve won all four of their group stage matches. England are in Group C alongside Italy, Malta, Ukraine and North Macedonia in what initially looked like a tough group, but they have made light work of the opposition so far having taken maximum points.
Gareth Southgate’s men started with an impressive 2-1 win away to Italy in March thanks to goals from Declan Rice and Harry Kane. They then beat Ukraine 2-0 at Wembley Stadium with Kane and Bukayo Saka on the score-sheet that night. England took control of Group C with a comfortable 4-0 victory away to Malta in June with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kane, Callum Wilson and an own goal doing the damage. Saka then inspired England to a 7-0 victory over North Macedonia at Old Trafford as the Arsenal youngster netted a hat-trick during the commanding win. Kane , Marcus Rashford and Kalvin Phillips were also on target for their country during the rout.
The wins mean England sit top of their group with a maximum 12 points. They are 6 points clear of second-placed Ukraine – who have a game in hand – and 9 point ahead of Italy – who have two games in hand. So the Three Lions are firmly in control of Group C and can all-but secure their place at Euro 2024 with another win away to Ukraine during the international break next month.
The game will take place at the Tarczynski Arena in Wroclaw, Poland, due to the ongoing war with Russia in Ukraine. It will kick-off at 5pm on September 9th and fans can buy Euro 2024 tickets ahead of the big match – which is expected to be a sell-out. Following their clash in Poland, England will take on Scotland in a friendly at Hampden Park on September 12th.
With two important games on the horizon, Gareth Southgate is set to announce his squad for the double-header next month. The 52-year-old has some big decisions to make as many of his most trusted players in recent years are struggling for regular game-time at their clubs this season while others are carrying injuries.
Harry Maguire has been a mainstay in the England team during Southgate’s tenure but the centre-back is out-of-favour under Erik ten Hag at Manchester United. Maguire is yet to start a game for his club this season with Raphael Varane, Leandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof all ahead of him in the pecking order. A proposed move to West Ham has collapsed as Maguire is determined to stay at Old Trafford and fight for his place.
Despite his lack of minutes, Maguire is still expected to be named in Southgate’s England squad this week. One of the main reasons for Maguire’s inclusion is the fact that Manchester City star John Stones is unavailable due to injury while Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings is also on the sidelines. Eric Dier has also been a regular pick in Southgate’s squads over the years but he’s been axed at Tottenham and is yet to kick a ball this season, so Southgate wants Maguire for his experience.
Kalvin Phillips is another favourite for Southgate but the midfielder has barely played club football for over a year having been frozen out at Man City by Pep Guardiola. Despite this, Phillips is still likely to be selected for England’s upcoming international’s as Southgate has ignored his lack of minutes at club level in the past.
Goalkeeper: Arsenal star Aaron Ramsdale should be selected in the England squad and he’ll be hoping to force his way into Southgate’s XI after being included in the PFA Team of the Season for 2022/23. However, Jordan Pickford has been been Southgate’s No.1 over the years and he’s expected to retain the gloves despite Everton’s disappointing start to the new season.
Defence: Kyle Walker has continued his excellent form for Man City this season and he could be picked to start at right-back. Reece James is out injured so Walker may get the nod over Kieran Trippier. There is a big decision for Southgate at left-back with Luke Shaw ruled out after picking up a muscle injury. Ben Chilwell is fit again and playing regularly for Chelsea so he could get the nod.
Levi Colwill is expected to be confirmed in the senior squad after impressing at Chelsea and the youngster could be given his chance to shine for England against Ukraine. With Stones and Mings unavailable, Maguire is likely to partner Colwill with the likes of Marc Guehi and Lewis Dunk missing out on a starting spot.
Arsenal star Ben White may be hoping for a recall due to Southgate’s issues in defence but he may miss out once again as the fall out continues from his early return from the World Cup back in December.
Midfield: Trent Alexander-Arnold seems to have forced his way into Southgate’s plans – but as a midfielder, not a right-back. The Liverpool star shone in the midfield role in recent international’s so he could keep his place against Ukraine next month.
Declan Rice has made an impressive start to life at Arsenal having made a £105m move from West Ham this summer. Rice is almost certainly going to start for his country in the Euro 2024 qualifier and he’s expected to line-up in the holding midfield role.
Jude Bellingham has also been hugely impressive for his new club having made a sensational start to life in Spain following his big-money move to Real Madrid from Borussia Dortmund this summer. Bellingham is a star in the making and should play for his country for years to come.
Jordan Henderson is likely to keep his place in the England squad despite making a shock move to Saudi Arabia this summer but he’ll have to settle for a place on the bench.
Attack: Harry Kane has settled immediately in Germany following his move to Bayern Munich from Tottenham and is already banging-in the goals. Kane will lead the line up front for England against Ukraine and he should be supported by Bukayo Saka.
Marcus Rashford could get the nod in the left sided role in England attack. Phil Foden and James Maddison could be other options but they’ll probably have to settle for places among the substitutes. Crystal Palace youngster Eberechi Eze could also keep his place in the squad after being on the bench against Malta in June.
Possible England XI vs Ukraine: Pickford, Walker, Maguire, Colwill, Chilwell, Rice, Bellingham, Alexander-Arnold, Saka, Rashford, Kane.
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