England completed a successful qualifying campaign and secured a seeding for Euro 2020 withvictory in Kosovoon Sunday – now manager Gareth Southgate’s plans will move into the next preparation phase.
England will be among the favorites next summer, especially with all their group games at Wembley and the stadium also staging the semi-finals and final.
Every squad place will be highly prized – but while some players have cemented their status, others are now on the margins with large question marks against their names.
Southgate will be trying to detect all those vital signs as England prepare for two friendlies in March before Euro 2020.
England st ock has fallen
Walker’s disappearance off England’s radar has been one of the biggest selection decisions taken by Southgate during the course of
The 29 – year-old Manchester City defender was a mainstay of England’s run to the World Cup semi-final in 2018, playing on the right side of three-man central defense, and started the Euro 2020 qualifiers at right-back before he was dropped for the home double-header against Bulgaria and Kosovo in September.
Southgate has made all the traditional noises about Walker still having a part to play but with Kieran Trippier obviously preferred, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold impressing and Manchester United youngster Aaron Wan-Bissaka waiting in the wings, it is difficult difficult to work out when this experienced fig ure will add to his 48 caps.
Everton defender Keane made five starts in the qualifiers but performances of diminishing returns, coupled with poor Premier League form, has seen him dropped by both club and country.
Keane, although scoring in Montenegro, gifted Kosovo a goal at St Mary’s and his poor display in defeat against the Czech Republic in Prague convinced Southgate to look elsewhere – once again it is hard to see how he will get back, especially as he has been ousted by Mason Holgate at Everton.
Tyrone Mings and Fikayo Tomori are now ahead of Keane and John Stones is fit again – so it may be all over for the 26 – year-old at this level.
Dier is another who played his part in Russia, memorably scoring the winning penalty in the last 16 shootout against Colombia, but has not figured since the Nations League third-place play-off against Switzerland in June – and looks unlikely to get back.
Southgate , who already has Jordan Henderson, has better options in that key midfield area as England have become more ambitious, leaving Dier sidelined. Problems with injury and form means he is no longer a regular at Tottenham.
West Ham’s Declan Rice has gone off the boil but is still in the squad ahead of him while Tottenham team-mate Harry Winks is now also re-established with England and a much more attractive option.
Dier is another who it is hard to see being anywhere near next summer’s squad , having only played 17 minutes in qualifiers.
Alli was once the great midfield hope for England when he was also producing those touches of class and trademark goalscoring flourishes for Spurs.
He is still only 23 and can definitely work his way back into contention, but after a relatively quiet World Cup and a lengthy spell of indifferent form Alli has a lot of work to do to regain Southgate’s favor with a place in his team.
Chelsea’s Mason Mount has come into contention while Leicester City’s James Maddison is another whose development may block Alli’s return.
Lingard’s popularity grew as an England regular during the World Cup but a barren spell at Manchester United, where he is no longer a first choice, and the emergence of others means he is now very much on the outside looking in.
He was fortunate Southgate kept faith so long as to include him in the September qualifiers at home to Bulgaria and Kosovo, given his poor form and lack of contribution when playing for United. Lingard withdrew through illness and shows no signs of making a return.
England stock has risen
Raheem Sterling was, for some time, an unfulfilled figure with England – their run to the World Cup semi-final disguising his struggle to make a tangible contribution
Not any more. He is now world-class and arguably England’s most influential player, although he has learned a harsh lesson after he was dropped by Southgate following his confrontation with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez.
Sterling , even in a quiet end to a turbulent week, helped to create goals for Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford in Kosovo.
The key moment in his international career came when Sterling ended a three-year run without an England goal when he scored twice in the3-2 win in Spainin October 2018.
It released the full flow of his talent as he has torn defences apart during the qualifiers. Sterling can be one of the superstars of Euro 2020.
Kane won the Golden Boot at the 2018 World Cup as leading scorer with six goals and yet he only got one from open play, and three came from penalties.
He has grown in stature since as the complete striker and an England captain who leads by example, earning the total respect and confidence of his team-mates, as well as Southgate.
Kane is also on course for history with his hat-trick against Montenegro and another goal in Kosovo taking him to 32 – surely on course to surpass Wayne Rooney’s all-time England record of 53 – at the age of 26 and in the prime of his career.
On Sunday he equalled the highest tally in a calendar year for England w ith 12, going level with George Hilson in 1908 and Dixie Dean in 1927. He is England’s spearhead.
Leicester’s gifted 22 – year-old left-back has made such rapid progress that he must now be rated ahead of Danny Rose and Manchester United’s Luke Shaw, who seems permanently troubled by injury, to be in England’s starting line-up next summer.
Chilwell is flourishing under Brendan Rodgers and his attacking instincts and dead-ball abilities , allied to improving defensive work, make him an England star of the future. He demonstrated this with a hat-trick of first-half assists in the 7-0 win against Montenegro at Wembley.
Still not the complete defender – but his obvious determination to improve means this is certain to be addressed.
Quietly effective and growing into Southgate’s plans. Impressive on the field and off, as proved when he sat alongside Southgate at the top table before England’s qualifier in Kosovo.
And just to confirm his increasing stature, he provide a cool slide-rule finish for his first England goal in Pristina,
The 23 – year-old Spurs man is very much the modern midfielder, adept in all aspects of the game, excellent in possession and with an ability to pick a decisive pass.
Staking a strong claim to start at Euro 2020.
The 19 – year-old is having a difficult time at club level with Borussia Dortmund, where he was dropped and fined after being late back from England duty in October and then replaced only 36 minutes into the 4-0 loss against Bayern Munich – after carrying an injury into the game.
Southgate, however, has no doubt about the youngster’s gifts – and just watch the scramble and huge fee likely to be paid when he makes his expected departure from Dortmund next summer.
Sancho could form a thrilling front three with Kane and Sterling – although the presence of rejuvenated Marcus Rashford and another 19 – year-old, Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi, underlines Southgate’s riches in this area.