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England: Who will be on the plane for Euro 2024?

Gareth Southgate is running out of time to finalise his plans for the European Championship, with next month’s fixtures against Brazil and Belgium the final chance for England to experiment.

The Three Lions boss has been famously loyal to several stars who have served him well in past tournaments and qualification campaigns, but there are large question marks over a number of established figures.

As Euro 2024 rapidly approaches, we’ve looked at the selection status of England’s top talent ahead of the tournament.

Guaranteed a place on the plane:

Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Harry Kane.

The untouchables in Southgate’s squad, provided each avoids injury ahead of the tournament. Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham have been arguably the two best players in Europe this season, while Jordan Pickford’s status as number one goalkeeper has been largely unchallenged during Southgate’s reign.

Declan Rice, John Stones and Bukayo Saka are certain starters when fit, with the lack of alternatives to the former meaning England can ill-afford cruel luck with injury. Phil Foden’s form this season has placed him in contention for a prominent role in the team.

Almost certain to travel:

Aaron Ramsdale, Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Ollie Watkins

Southgate’s conservatism means huge surprises are unlikely heading into a major tournament and several of the senior players who have previously represented England well will return.

Kieran Trippier’s form for Newcastle and comfortability on either flank makes him a shoo-in, while the past performances of Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw are likely to lead to inclusion despite mixed form and fitness at Manchester United.

Trent Alexander-Arnold appears to have won over the England manager as a midfield option, while Ollie Watkins’ brilliant season at Aston Villa has made him the frontrunner to provide competition and cover for Harry Kane. Aaron Ramsdale should form part of the goalkeeping group, despite a lack of football for Arsenal this season.

Likely inclusions:

Sam Johnstone, Marc Guehi, Levi Colwill, Conor Gallagher, James Maddison, Cole Palmer

Sam Johnstone is one of the few English goalkeepers to have featured regularly in the Premier League this season, while Marc Guehi and Conor Gallagher have been regulars in recent squads.

Elsewhere, Levi Colwill provides left-footed balance to the backline, James Maddison has had an exceptional start at Spurs, and Cole Palmer has emerged as one of the breakthrough stars of the campaign. Though inexperienced, Palmer’s numbers and cool under pressure at Chelsea should not be overlooked.

Work to do:

Nick Pope, Dean Henderson, Reece James, Lewis Dunk, Fikayo Tomori, Ben Chilwell, Kalvin Phillips, Jordan Henderson, Eberechi Eze, Jarrod Bowen, Jack Grealish, Marcus Rashford, Ivan Toney, Callum Wilson

An eclectic mix of names make up our England options with work to do, from Southgate stalwarts, to those struggling with injuries, and fringe options pushing for a place.

Nick Pope, Dean Henderson, Reece James and Ben Chilwell have not played enough football this season, while question marks remain over the fitness and robustness of Eberechi Eze, Jack Grealish and Callum Wilson.

Lewis Dunk and Fikayo Tomori appear to be battling for one place at centre-back, while Southgate has received criticism for his continued selection of Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips, despite a noticeable decline from each.

Jarrod Bowen’s goal return might not be enough given the competition for attacking places, and Marcus Rashford will need to improve to make the plane. Ivan Toney has strengthened his case for selection, however, having scored four times in five Premier League games since returning from an eight-month suspension.

Outside chance:

Rico Lewis, Ezri Konsa, James Ward-Prowse, Mason Mount, Eddie Nketiah

Rico Lewis, Ezri Konsa and Eddie Nketiah have all featured in recent squads, though barring a sustained run of performances across the run-in face an uphill challenge to break in.

James Ward-Prowse has, somewhat mysteriously, continued to be overlooked despite the lack of options in midfield, while Mason Mount’s debut season at Manchester United has been ravaged by injury.

Wildcards:

Tino Livramento, Jarrad Branthwaite, Max Kilman, Joe Gomez, Kobbie Mainoo, James Garner, Ross Barkley, Curtis Jones, Morgan Gibbs-White, Jacob Ramsey, Anthony Gordon, Dominic Solanke

Wildcard selections are not uncommon heading into a major tournament and England boast a wealth of options to choose from.

Kobbie Mainoo’s exciting emergence at Manchester United has seen him championed for inclusion for March’s friendly fixtures and there’s also been clamour for Ross Barkley, following his renaissance at Luton Town.

Anthony Gordon won the Player of the Tournament award as England’s u-21 side won the European Championship last summer and has continued that form for Newcastle, and Curtis Jones and Jarrad Branthwaite have quietly impressed on opposing sides of the Merseyside divide.

Elsewhere, Dominic Solanke’s goalscoring form is difficult to overlook. The 26-year-old, who won a sole cap for the Three Lions in 2017, has scored 16 goals in 28 games for Bournemouth this season.

Read – The youngest players to score in six straight Premier League games

See more – Premier League weekend: Five things we learned

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