Just how exciting is this current England squad that Gareth Southgate has assembled and how many tough calls is he going to have to make as we edge towards Euro 2020 in the coming summer.
England wrapped up qualifying this week with a flattering 4-0 win against Kosovo away from home. England won seven of their eight qualifying games and ended with a goal difference of +31 which is England’s highest qualifying total since 1908.
England will be among the favourites next summer, especially with all their group games at Wembley and the stadium also staging the semi-finals and final.
Other teams will most certainly be in the hunt such as world champions France, defending champions Portugal and Germany to name just a few.
From the games, it was clear to see that Gareth Southgate may not know his best starting XI yet especially in defence with England having a host of fullbacks and centre-halves to choose from.
Can we win it?
The short answer is yes. Of course, England can win the tournament as the squad that we possess is a fantastic blend of youth and experience. Clearly, there will be other teams such as France who will be more favoured but if England can make home advantage count towards the latter stages of the competition and have some consistency at the back then we have every chance.
The form from big players such as Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Harry Maguire will be key and they need to show if England are to be in with a real chance.
Which fringe players could be in with a chance of making the squad?
Walker was an ever-present figure during England’s run to the 2018 World Cup semi-final and is still first-choice right-back at Manchester City. He has got mistakes in him however and it is likely that Southgate will prefer the younger Trent Alexander-Arnold. However, it can be argued that Walker still offers more than Kieran Trippier and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. His chances of making the squad are in the balance and Southgate has previously stated that he still has a chance so his club form until the end of the season will be vital.
Maddison has simply been magnificent for Leicester so far since his move from Norwich last season. His touch and skill are impressive and he offers something that not many other English players can offer. He could be the attacking spark that we have missed in previous tournaments and his chances of being in the squad should be very high if not guaranteed.
For the past two seasons, Alli has been unable to hit the levels that we saw when he burst on to the scene for Spurs following his move from MK Dons. Injuries haven’t helped and his progress has been stifled so it would take a remarkable turnaround in form for the attacking midfielder to force his way into the squad but never say never.
Winks has matured over the past season and even has a Champions League Final start to his name in a game where he played reasonably well. Winks has been starting for Southgate during the qualifying process and even opened the scoring against Kosovo. Winks will be confident but he needs to ensure his form doesn’t drop as there is so much competition for those midfield places.
I can’t help but feel that this may be one tournament too soon for Manchester City starlet Phil Foden. The 19-year-old could be a truly world-class player for both club and country but he needs regular game time before he can be considered for England and especially a major tournament. But come 2022 in Qatar he could be one of the first names on the squad list.
Another player where this tournament could be too soon is Chelsea defender Tomori. His stock has risen since a succesful loan move to Derby last season and under Chelsea boss Frank Lampard he is a guaranteed starter producing big performances in the league and Europe. His pace and size make him a perfect defender and his ability on the ball is impressive too. He will be one to watch out for and if he carries on his fine form, he could be a surprise inclusion next summer.
There are plenty of other players that could make next summers Euro squad. Who do you think Gareth Southgate should be choosing and vice-versa?