Stock England fan image. Picture: Pixabay.

The time for talking is almost over. After the 33-man squad was cut to 26 and England scraped friendly wins against Austria and Romania, Gareth Southgate will pick his starting XI for the Euro 2020 opener against Croatia.

It’s impossible to know for sure who the Three Lions’ boss will select or what formation he may go with. But I’d hazard a guess at 4-2-3-1 and have picked my team on that basis. 

I’ve also assumed that Harry Maguire will not be ready, or risked, so that’s the only reason he isn’t joining John Stones at the heart of the back four.

I’m happy to leave Jordan Henderson on the sidelines. He’s a fantastic midfielder but I’d much rather two match-fit players start against the team who knocked us out of the 2018 World Cup at the semi-final stage.

All I really care about is that Southgate goes for it and finds a way to get Jack Grealish, Mason Mount and Phil Foden in the same team. They’re an exciting, in-form and fearless trio who I honestly would let loose on Croatia as England look to get off a great start.

Euro 2020 is finally here and Gavin Caney picks his England starting XI ahead of Sunday’s opener against Croatia

• Pickford • James • Stoners • Whites • Shaw • Rice • Bellingham • Mount
• Grealish • Foden • Kane (4-2-3-1)

Key Info


Group games

Sunday: Croatia, 2pm

Friday, June 18:
Scotland, 8pm

Tuesday, June 22:
Czech Rep, 8pm

Possible round of 16 opponents –

As group winners: Portugal, Hungary, France, Germany

As group runners-up: Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden

As a third-place qualifier: Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Holland, Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Belgium

Quarter-final dates:

Fri, July 2 and Sat, July 3

Semi-final dates:

Tue, July 6 and
Wed, July 7

Sun, July 11

England at the Euros

1960: France –
did not enter

1964: Spain –
did not qualify

1968: Italy – Third

1972: Belgium –
did not qualify

1976: Yugoslavia –
did not qualify

1980: Italy – group stage 

1984: France –
did not qualify 

1988: West Germany – group stage

1992: Sweden –
group stage 

1996: England –

2000: Belgium/Holland – group stage

2004: Portugal –

2008: Switzerland/Austria – did not qualify

2012: Poland/Ukraine – quarter-finals 

2016: France – last 16