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England Euro 2024 squad: The big decisions for Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate will name his provisional England squad for Euro 2024 on Tuesday afternoon.

England will travel to Germany as one of the favourites for success in the tournament, though the Three Lions manager faces some big decisions, ahead of his squad announcement at 14:00 BST.

We’ve taken a look at the big decisions facing Southgate.

Who plays at left-back?

Left-back appears a problem position for England heading into the tournament with first-choice options Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell sidelined.

Shaw has been the established option for Southgate in recent tournaments but the Manchester United full-back has not made a Premier League appearance since February and Erik ten Hag has cast doubt on Shaw’s chances of being involved in this weekend’s FA Cup final.

Chilwell deputised, somewhat unconvincingly, during March’s international break and has featured for just 10 minutes in the Premier League since those games as a result of ongoing knee troubles.

The options behind that duo appear limited. Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier has featured at left-back for England on occasion but is more suited to right-back, while Liverpool’s Joe Gomez is a solid if uninspiring option. The latter’s versatility across the backline could lead to inclusion after ending an international exile in March.

Could there be an opportunity for a more regular left-back? Crystal Palace’s Tyrick Mitchell won two caps in 2022 and has had an impressive season at Selhurst Park.

Are Mainoo and Wharton ready?

Central midfield is an area of the pitch that lacks depth for England with former favourites Kalvin Phillips and Jordan Henderson in danger of missing out. Phillips has struggled to reignite his fortunes during a loan move to West Ham, while Henderson’s departure from the Premier League to Saudi Arabia and then Ajax make his position unclear.

Kobbie Mainoo was included for the first time in March and the Manchester United teenager acquitted himself well during clashes with Brazil and Belgium. The 19-year-old appears to have the temperament for tournament football but his lack of experience could represent a risk, having been part of an open and vulnerable Manchester United midfield this season.

Another player who has caught the eye is Crystal Palace midfielder Adam Wharton. The 20-year-old arrived at Palace from Championship strugglers Blackburn in January and has hit the ground running in the top division. Wharton’s positioning, poise and forward-thinking passing have impressed during a brilliant end to the season for Palace.

Gambles, but if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.

Form or favoured players in wide areas?

Another big decision for Southgate is who to select for the wide roles. It’s perhaps England’s biggest strength heading into the tournament with an abundance of options and the England manager will have to make calls on whether to go for experienced out-of-form options or up-and-coming form players.

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Manchester City’s Jack Grealish are long-term favourites but have each struggled for form and fitness during the current campaign. It’s left them in danger of missing out, given the competition.

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka and Manchester City’s Phil Foden are shoo-ins for the squad and Cole Palmer’s campaign at Chelsea appears to have placed him in similar standing.

Elsewhere, Anthony Gordon has been exceptional at Newcastle and impressed on debut in March, Jarrod Bowen has had the best goalscoring season of his career at West Ham, and Eberechi Eze and James Maddison are alternative options.

The centre-forward dilemma

At the time of the last international break, some suggested Ivan Toney had the edge in the race to be Harry Kane’s deputy at number nine. The 28-year-old had returned from a long suspension impressively and scored his first international goal in March, though the Brentford frontman has since endured a barren run.

In contrast, Ollie Watkins has been one of the stars of the Premier League season with 19 goals and a league-leading 13 assists. It appears difficult to see how Southgate can leave out the Aston Villa forward, so perhaps the question is whether he takes two or three out-and-out centre-forwards.

Even then, Toney might not be a certainty to travel. Dominic Solanke has scored 21 goals for Bournemouth this season and, on form, should be above Toney in the pecking order. The 26-year-old also has tournament experience, having won the Golden Ball as England won the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2017.

Read – Our Premier League end-of-season awards for 2023/24

See more – Our Premier League Team of the Season for 2023/24

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