Gareth Southgate’s attacking dilemma for Euro 2021

(written by Cain Smith)

Euro 2021 is slowly approaching and with the final international break before the tournament upon us, there’s much to talk about Gareth Southgate’s England side, who face San Marino tonight and play Albania and Poland in the coming days.

The current squad has some great attacking talent such as Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling but there are also players such as Jadon Sancho, James Maddison and Jack Grealish who all missed out on this squad due to injury – as well as Marcus Rashford, who joined the squad but has been ruled out of playing in any of the matches.

This all begs the question, which attackers will start for England in the Euros?

With a plethora of attacking talent, it is almost impossible to predict who will start for The Three Lions, with the only certainty in the frontline being England captain, Harry Kane.

Sancho has lit up the Bundesliga for the third season in a row, currently sitting on 12 goals and 16 assists for the season. He is one option that could be starting alongside Kane, most likely from the right.

Jadon Sancho in action for Borussia Dortmund – Credit: Вячеслав Евдокимов – https://fc-zenit.ru/photo/48799/

However, Rashford and Sterling are two players that have great trust from the England manager, they have earned 37 and 31 caps respectively under Southgate – the most and fifth-most of any English players.

They will be desperate to continue and start for the country in three months time, however, there are in-form players who will make it all the more difficult for Southgate.

Grealish and Mason Mount are both having their most impressive personal campaigns for Aston Villa and Chelsea. Grealish has been the standout player for The Villans, as has Mount for both Lampard and Tuchel’s Blues. Although both of them have shown their talents in the attacking midfield role, in Southgate’s 3-4-3 they will each likely be competing for either wing.

Though, Grealish, particularly, has a great chance of breaking into the starting line-up for Euro 2021. In just 23 appearances Grealish has seven goals and 12 assists. He also has impressed in an England shirt, after deputising against Denmark in September and comparisons to Paul Gascoigne in his playstyle have only strengthened the claims that he should be starting for England in the summer.

However, Southgate clearly has players that he favours, and one seems to be Mount of Chelsea, and there is a clear reason why. While the Chelsea player mostly operates in the midfield during the season, he could likely play from either of the wings as Southgate appreciates his pressing and energy in his frontline. It would not be surprising to see Mount start in the frontline if England progress into the latter stages of the tournament.

Yet if the manager chooses to prioritise balance, Phil Foden is a name that could end up on the England team sheet. The Manchester City youngster has had a standout season for City, operating from the flanks, and has shown an abundance of maturity in his play under Pep Guardiola.

There is ample attacking talent in the England set-up. Players such as Jesse Lingard and Bukayo Saka, who’re playing brilliantly for West Ham and Arsenal, might be lucky to make the squad, which further shows the strength in forward positions that Southgate has at his disposal.

While it is a dilemma that the manager has to deal with – and will certainly give him headaches- it is a dilemma that displays the incredible talents that have been developed on English soil in recent years.

Featured image: Credit – Кирилл Венедиктов – https://www.soccer.ru/galery/1055768/photo/734135

Published by Cain Smith

Covering Manchester United for VAVEL, ArchBallUK & UtdDistrict | Tactical Analysis for BreakingTheLines | Find me on Twitter: @cainsmithMU

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