Gareth Southgate has some massive decisions to make about his England EURO 2020 squad, with a lot of competition in just about every position. Using FIFA 21 ratings, let’s see who EA SPORTS ranks as the country’s best players and whether or not they should be picked.
EURO 2020 starts on June 11, 2021 after the competition was delayed. England’s group has been confirmed, as they will be facing off against Scotland, the Czech Republic, and the nation that knocked them out of the 2018 World Cup, Croatia.
Before the competition kicks off, each head coach has to decide on a set squad of 23. Already, we have seen football pundits like Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville reveal their ideal Starting XI and have huge televised debates about selections in certain positions.
What we’re going to do here is look at the best team on paper, based on FIFA 21 ratings, then go through each position to see where they’re maybe right and wrong.
It’s a huge big debate pre-tournament and there have been so many changes in form during the course of the 2020/21 season, so let’s jump in and select our best England team – as of April 2021. Injured players were automatically excluded – such as Joe Gomez.
England EURO 2020 team picked by FIFA 21
England EURO 2020 team: Big talking points
- Best Goalkeeper? Gary Neville has predicted Dean Henderson may get in the EURO 2020 team, but who deserves the spot?
- Who plays right back? Alexander-Arnold, Walker, James or Trippier?
- Who gets in midfield? Southgate has a wealth of options here, but FIFA 21’s suggestion of Dele Alli will fall on deaf ears.
- What do you want from that forward three? There’s a load of in-form attackers for England, yet only three can make the cut.
Now, let’s take a look at which ones we would keep from the generated team above, as well as who should be dropped this Summer.
- Nick Pope
- Jordan Pickford – Our Pick
- Dean Henderson
The importance of an excellent goalkeeper at international level cannot be understated. Nobody wants to relive the error made by Rob Green from the 2010 World Cup, for example.
This year, there are three solid contenders for the No.1 jersey.
Pope may be the best-rated goalkeeper in FIFA 21, and have three more clean sheets than Pickford in the Premier League, but we’re backing the latter to be selected. Based on how comfortable the Toffees’ goalie is with the ball, and his range of passing, there’s an argument to be made that he would be better suited to the style of football. Not to mention, he’s certainly improved his form this season compared to the previous campaign.
- Read More: FIFA 21 RTTF Upgrade Tracker
As for Dean Henderson, now may be too early for the 24-year-old and on this stage, experience is very valuable. If he establishes himself as Manchester United’s main shot-stopper in the next 12 months, there will be a much stronger case here for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
- Kyle Walker – Our Pick
- Kieran Trippier
- Trent Alexander-Arnold
- Reece James
- Tyrone Mings
- Harry Maguire – Our Pick
- John Stones – Our Pick
- Conor Coady
- Eric Dier
- Luke Shaw – Our Pick
- Ben Chilwell
The picks for England’s defence depend on the formation, really. In this instance, we are going to presume they will not use their system of three central defenders and two wing-backs. Instead, as they have done in WC Qualifiers, our picks will slot into a flat back four.
All of the talk ahead of the EUROs has been about Alexander-Arnold, and for good reason. The 22-year-old has won the Champions League, Premier League and is considered by many as one of the best right-backs in the world. However, his defensive positioning and 1v1 defending is still an area of question. If England are to play a lot more pragmatically than Liverpool, Walker surely makes the cut. He’s a speedy and solid defender, with much more experience.
Luke Shaw has enjoyed one of his best-ever seasons at Manchester United, and despite strong competition from Chelsea’s Chilwell, you can’t really look past him in current form.
Then in central defence there are two standout players on the list – Maguire and Stones. The pair have really blossomed this year under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Pep Guardiola respectively. They also compliment each other quite well. Both able to bring the ball from the back, but Stones has the edge with his passing range and his partner should dominate the box for headers.
- Phil Foden – Our Pick
- Jesse Lingard
- James Maddison
- Jack Grealish
- Jordan Henderson – Our Pick
- Declan Rice
- Kalvin Phillips
- James Ward-Prowse
- Mason Mount – Our Pick
- Jude Bellingham
The midfield is an interesting one. Some fans may argue England should stick with the tried and tested approach of two holding players to sure up the defence, though with the wealth of creativity at Southgate’s disposal, it would be ridiculous not to fit exciting players in the middle.
Grealish, Maddison, Rice, and Ward-Prowse have been very impressive this season. Without a doubt, each of them deserve recognition for that and there will be times in the European Championship where they will slot in. However, if we’re talking about the best combination on paper, there needs to be balance.
We’ve gone with a midfield three of Henderson (if fit), Mount, and Foden. There, they would have Henderson sit in the middle and dictate the tempo of the match. Mount is a box-to-box runner, so he’s a positive selection, and then Foden offers the dynamism Southgate’s side lacked so sorely back in 2018.
It’s the most competitive area for England right now and it will be interesting to see how the lineup shapes up against Croatia, in that first fixture.
- Harry Kane – Our Pick
- Raheem Sterling
- Marcus Rashford – Our Pick
- Jadon Sancho – Our Pick
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin
- Mason Greenwood
- Bukayo Saka
- Ollie Watkins
Despite the excellent performances of Calvert-Lewin, Watkins, Greenwood, and Saka throughout the 2020/21 season, it may be a little too soon for those to break in. They do offer versatility from the bench and can play a wide variety of positions, though we can’t forget who they’re trying to replace in the team.
Kane is arguably the most deadly finisher in England’s top flight, netting 19 goals and racking up 13 assists at the time of writing. He also has a massive 63% goal participation. As we’ve seen for Spurs this season, if he has speedy runners either side of him upfront, he’s as good a passer as he is a finisher.
Now for the two playing off the sides. Without a doubt, Sterling is a top-class player, though his numbers are not quite where you would expect them to be this year. With just 13 goals in all competitions, compared to the 20 from Rashford, the latter certainly should edge it into the starting 11.
The right side belongs to Sancho as well, firing in 12 goals for Borussia Dortmund and forming a deadly partnership with Erling Haaland in Germany. If he can turn provider just a few times in EURO 2020 for Kane, adding in Rashford’s goals too, there’s no doubt this could be a very lethal forward three.
So – there you have it! That’s the Starting XI we’ve picked out and if it is to be accurate, a number of EA SPORTS’ suggestions would be overlooked this Summer. We would love to hear your thoughts about which players Southgate should pick. Tweet us @UltimateTeamUK and @FutWatch with your suggestions! Let’s see if we can build a consensus…