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England possible starting XI for Croatia clash

England possible starting XI for Croatia clash
© Reuters
England manager Gareth Southgate must now decide on his starting line-up.

Gareth Southgate has confirmed his 26-man squad for England's tilt at winning the rescheduled European Championship this summer and the Three Lions began preparations with a 1-0 win over Austria on Wednesday night.

With their Euro 2020 campaign kicking off against Group D rivals Croatia at Wembley, Southgate must now decide on his starting line-up.

Here, the PA news agency predicts what the England team will look like for the June 13 opener.

Jordan Pickford

The Everton goalkeeper has been Southgate's first choice between the posts for some time but his position appeared to be under threat from Burnley stopper Nick Pope. Sadly, knee surgery ruled Pope out of the finals so Pickford is therefore expected to again be trusted with the gloves, especially considering the international inexperience of his understudies.

Kyle Walker

England's right-back berth is one of the most coveted in the side, given the fact Southgate named four players for the position in his squad. Walker has enjoyed a fine season at Manchester City and is another player so often called upon by the England manager that he would appear to be at the top of the pecking order, although like all City, Manchester United and Chelsea players, he was absent from the Austria win following their European final appearances.

Tyrone Mings

Tyrone Mings will be pushing to step in for the injured Harry Maguire for the Croatia game.
Tyrone Mings will be pushing to step in for the injured Harry Maguire for the Croatia game (Lindsey Parnaby/PA)

Southgate would have no doubt called upon Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire for his starting XI but has admitted an ankle injury means he is unlikely to be fit in time for the start of the tournament. That opens the door for a number of other players but Mings is comfortable in a back four and the Aston Villa defender has nine caps having started the win on Wednesday night.

John Stones

With Maguire missing, the role of the senior defensive partner at the heart of England's defence is likely to fall on the shoulders of John Stones. The Manchester City defender is prone to the odd lapse in concentration but, especially if Southgate goes with a back four, his place is all but assured.

Ben Chilwell

The Chelsea defender will be in high spirits heading into the England camp on the back of helping Chelsea beat Walker and Stones' City in the Champions League final on Saturday. With stiff competition provided in the shape of an in-form Luke Shaw, Chilwell will need to be at his best to lock down the left-back role.

Declan Rice

Wearing the West Ham armband for much of the season, Rice was integral to the Hammers going from relegation candidates into European qualifiers. The defensive midfielder will provide a barrier to Southgate's back four and is also adept at carrying the ball forward to begin attacks.

Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham impressed on his first senior England start.
Jude Bellingham impressed on his first senior England start (Lindsey Parnaby/PA)

Selecting 17-year-old Jude Bellingham would be Southgate's boldest call – but the Borussia Dortmund midfielder has shown he is capable of coping with the pressure. A fine string of Champions League displays sealed his spot in the Euros squad and he caught the eye on his first international start in the victory against Austria.

Mason Mount

The Chelsea man seemed to split the opinion of England fans earlier this season – especially by those who thought his place in the team should have gone to Jack Grealish. He has, however, proved Southgate right to stick with him and has shone for club and country in the past year, more than earning him a place in the starting XI.

Phil Foden

The 21-year-old could become one of the breakout stars of the entire tournament and Southgate spoke fondly of him after naming his initial squad last week. If the Manchester City midfielder can carry over his recent club form, he must be included in the team and will be a thorn in the side of even the best defenders on the international stage.

Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling will be aiming to maintain his place in Southgate's side despite the emergence of some tough competition.
Raheem Sterling will be aiming to maintain his place in Southgate's side despite the emergence of some tough competition (Carl Recine/PA)

While Sterling's form has slipped in recent weeks, he has established himself in Southgate's side and his goalscoring form has only been outshone by captain Harry Kane. That should hold him in good stead and be enough for the Manchester City forward to retain his place.

Harry Kane

The skipper is an undoubted starter. The Tottenham striker won the awards for most goals and assists in the Premier League last season and will be raring to go for England. Winner of the golden boot at the 2018 World Cup, Kane's form in front of goal will go a long way towards determining how far England go in the tournament.

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United StatesUnited States16171144
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Great BritainGreat Britain89926
Today's Olympic highlights header

Saturday's key events

· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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Olympic Games Men's Football
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Danish Superliga
Finnish Veikkausliiga
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Copa Diego Maradona
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