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England at Euro 2024: Sports Mole's writers pick their final 26-man squads for the Three Lions

Who will make England's final 26-man squad for Euro 2024?
© Reuters
With attention now firmly turning to Euro 2024, the Sports Mole team selects who they believe should make Gareth Southgate's final England squad.

The final countdown to Euro 2024 is now well and truly underway, with Gareth Southgate having named his 33-man preliminary squad for upcoming friendlies against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iceland next month.

England will go into this summer's competition in Germany amongst the favourites to finally get their hands on international silverware, having reached the final in Euro 2020 and fallen agonisingly short in their bid to end a trophy drought that stretches back to 1966.

The coming weeks will give Southgate the chance to whittle down his initial 33-man squad by seven, with each nation being allowed to take a 26-man playing squad to the tournament.

That final roster must be confirmed by June 7 - the same day England face Iceland in their final warm-up match - and there are a number of fringe players who will be desperate to prove themselves to the manager between now and then.

Here, members of the Sports Mole team have selected who they believe should be on the plane to Germany, with an aggregate 26-man squad from all selections revealed at the bottom of the piece.



Barney Corkhill, Editor

England players pose for a team group photo before the match on March 23, 2024© Reuters

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Dean Henderson

Defenders: Jarrad Branthwaite, Joe Gomez, Ezri Konsa, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jude Bellingham, Conor Gallagher, Kobbie Mainoo, Declan Rice, Adam Wharton

Forwards: Jarrod Bowen, Eberechi Eze, Phil Foden, Anthony Gordon, Harry Kane, Cole Palmer, Bukayo Saka, Ivan Toney, Ollie Watkins

The strengths and weaknesses of this England squad are glaringly obvious: one of the best attacking units in world football, but a defence which leaves a lot to be desired following a host of injury issues.

Luke Shaw is almost a default pick due to a dearth of other options at left-back, with Kieran Trippier and the versatile Joe Gomez as makeshift back-up options there.

At centre-back, I toyed with the idea of including Jarell Quansah, who has enjoyed an impressive breakthrough season - on form alone you could argue for him ahead of even Harry Maguire - but I feel this tournament may have come one year too early for him.

Ezri Konsa gets the nod ahead of Marc Guehi as the Crystal Palace man is another to have only recently returned from injury, whereas Konsa only missed three games in a brilliant season for Aston Villa.

Trent Alexander-Arnold being listed as a midfielder will excite a lot of fans, and if Gareth Southgate is able to truly unlock his playmaking ability in that position then he could be a real force, but it is hard to see him making a first-choice XI considering the other midfield options at this stage.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for Southgate will be letting the forward players express themselves; Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham can be hugely influential in marauding box-to-box roles, which might help the dilemma of whether Bellingham or Phil Foden starts in central attacking midfield.

Cole Palmer and Bukayo Saka could then be in the wide areas of a 4-2-3-1 formation - both deserve starting roles after starring this season - with Harry Kane of course leading the line. James Maddison pays the price for injury and then loss of form towards the end of the season, while Jack Grealish, like Marcus Rashford, has not done enough this season to beat out fierce competition in his position.

There should also be no doubt about Ollie Watkins being in the squad after firing Aston Villa to the Champions League, while I would take Ivan Toney if only for his penalty-taking ability - although for once England seem to be blessed with a number of world-class penalty takers.



Matt Law, Football Editor

Crystal Palace's Adam Wharton on February 3, 2024© Reuters

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Dean Henderson

Defenders: Jarrad Branthwaite, Joe Gomez, Ezri Konsa, Harry Maguire, Jarell Quansah, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Gallagher, Kobbie Mainoo, Declan Rice, Adam Wharton, Jude Bellingham

Forwards: Jarrod Bowen, Eberechi Eze, Phil Foden, Anthony Gordon, Harry Kane, Cole Palmer, Bukayo Saka, Ollie Watkins

Leaving Ivan Toney out of the squad was a tough one, but Harry Kane is obviously going to play the majority of the minutes at centre-forward, and Ollie Watkins should be next in line due to his excellent campaign. There is unlikely to be much action for Toney, so it makes sense to bolster the squad elsewhere.

Kobbie Mainoo has to go, having proven himself at the top level this season. Meanwhile, Jarrad Branthwaite, Adam Wharton and Eberechi Eze have had brilliant campaigns, and it would be harsh if any of the trio were not a part of the final selection.

Jack Grealish has just not done enough this season to earn a spot in the final squad, while there are better options than James Maddison in his position.



Darren Plant, Senior Reporter

Tottenham Hotspur's James Maddison reacts on January 31, 2024© Reuters

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Dean Henderson

Defenders: Kyle Walker, Joe Gomez, Ezri Konsa, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Jarrad Branthwaite, Marc Guehi, Kieran Trippier, Luke Shaw

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Declan Rice, Conor Gallagher, Kobbie Mainoo, Adam Wharton, Jude Bellingham, James Maddison

Forwards: Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, Eberechi Eze, Cole Palmer, Anthony Gordon, Ollie Watkins, Harry Kane

A lot of my selections pick themselves, both in terms of the players that have been included and excluded.

Providing that he proves his fitness, Luke Shaw gains a place courtesy of England's lack of choices at left-back, while Marc Guehi gets the nod over Lewis Dunk courtesy of being a left-sided centre-back.

Given that England are blessed with attacking options, it makes more sense to include the defensively-astute Adam Wharton over the more creative Curtis Jones as a backup midfield option, plus the 20-year-old has been exceptional for Crystal Palace since signing from Crystal Palace.

Jack Grealish and Ivan Toney have either not played enough football or shown enough positive form, with only the exclusion of Jarrod Bowen deemed as harsh. It was either the West Ham United attacker or Anthony Gordon for the last pick



Ben Knapton, Senior Reporter

Brentford's Ivan Toney on April 3, 2024© Reuters

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Dean Henderson

Defenders: Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Jarrad Branthwaite, Joe Gomez, Lewis Dunk, Luke Shaw, Marc Guehi

Midfielders: Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Conor Gallagher, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Adam Wharton, Cole Palmer

Forwards: Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Ivan Toney, Ollie Watkins, Phil Foden, Anthony Gordon, Jarrod Bowen, Eberechi Eze



Oliver Thomas, Senior Reporter

West Ham United's Jarrod Bowen celebrates scoring their first goal on April 27, 2024© Reuters

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Dean Henderson

Defenders: Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Luke Shaw, Joe Gomez, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Jarrad Branthwaite, Lewis Dunk

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Conor Gallagher, Adam Wharton, Kobbie Mainoo, Cole Palmer, Eberechi Eze

Forwards: Harry Kane, Ollie Watkins, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Jarrod Bowen, Jack Grealish, Anthony Gordon



Jonathan O'Shea, Reporter

Manchester City's Jack Grealish at the end of the first half after being substituted on February 27, 2024© Reuters

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Dean Henderson, Aaron Ramsdale

Defenders: Jarrad Branthwaite, Joe Gomez, Marc Guehi, Ezri Konsa, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Gallagher, Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice, Adam Wharton

Forwards: Eberechi Eze, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Anthony Gordon, Harry Kane, James Maddison, Cole Palmer, Bukayo Saka, Ollie Watkins



Ben Sully, Reporter

Crystal Palace's Eberechi Eze shakes hands with manager Oliver Glasner after being substituted on March 2, 2024© Reuters

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale

Defenders: Jarrad Branthwaite, Joe Gomez, Ezri Konsa, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Gallagher, Kobbie Mainoo, Declan Rice, Adam Wharton, Jude Bellingham

Forwards: Jarrod Bowen, Eberechi Eze, Phil Foden, Anthony Gordon, Harry Kane, Cole Palmer, Bukayo Saka, Ivan Toney, Ollie Watkins

The shortage of natural left-backs is a concern and is the main factor behind my inclusion of Shaw despite the obvious concerns over his fitness. Ideally, I would have liked to have seen Crystal Palace's Tyrick Mitchell make the cut instead of the Man United full-back.

Adam Wharton and Kobbie Mainoo can provide cover in midfield and take some of the weight off Declan Rice's shoulders. In attack, Eberechi Eze deserves a place on the plane after enjoying a productive 2023-24 campaign with Palace.

Due to the intense competition in attacking areas, I have opted to leave out James Maddison and Jack Grealish, especially after the pair experienced underwhelming seasons.



Joel Lefevre, Reporter

Jarell Quansah in action for Liverpool on November 30, 2023© Reuters

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Dean Henderson

Defenders: John Stones, Harry Maguire, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Joe Gomez, Lewis Dunk, Marc Guehi, Jarell Quansah

Midfielders: Declan Rice, Kobbie Mainoo, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Gallagher, James Maddison, Jude Bellingham, Adam Wharton

Forwards: Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, Ivan Toney, Jarrod Bowen, Ollie Watkins, Cole Palmer, Anthony Gordon

The likes of Jordan Pickford, Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham are easy choices because of what they've achieved for the national team, while they're all experiencing fine seasons at club level.

The same cannot be said about someone like Harry Maguire, but I still see him being selected for this tournament as Southgate seems to trust him from past performances.

One name I don't see making it is Luke Shaw due to his injury situation, while I believe Ollie Watkins has played his way into the team.



Sam Varley, Reporter

Newcastle United's Anthony Gordon acknowledges fans after the match on March 2, 2024© Reuters

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale

Defenders: Lewis Dunk, Joe Gomez, Ezri Konsa, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jude Bellingham, Conor Gallagher, Kobbie Mainoo, Declan Rice, Adam Wharton

Forwards: Jarrod Bowen, Phil Foden, Anthony Gordon, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, James Maddison, Cole Palmer, Bukayo Saka, Ollie Watkins



Anthony Brown, Reporter

Liverpool's Curtis Jones celebrates scoring their second goal on January 1, 2024© Reuters

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale

Defenders: Jarrad Branthwaite, Lewis Dunk, Ezri Konsa, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Gallagher, Curtis Jones, Kobbie Mainoo, Adam Wharton, Declan Rice

Forwards: Jude Bellingham, Jarrod Bowen, Eberechi Eze, Phil Foden, Anthony Gordon, Harry Kane, Cole Palmer, Bukayo Saka, Ivan Toney, Ollie Watkins



Joshua Cole, Reporter

Crystal Palace's Marc Guehi during the warm up before the match on December 27, 2023© Reuters

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Dean Henderson

Defenders: Jarrad Branthwaite, John Stones, Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, Kieran Trippier, Ezri Konsa, Joe Gomez, Marc Guehi

Midfielders: Declan Rice, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kobbie Mainoo, Adam Wharton, Curtis Jones, Conor Gallagher

Forwards: Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane, Cole Palmer, Anthony Gordon, Ollie Watkins, Jarrod Bowen, Eberechi Eze



Devesh Jaganath, Reporter

Manchester United's Kobbie Mainoo on February 1, 2024© Reuters

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Dean Henderson

Defenders: Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Marc Guehi, Joe Gomez, Jarrad Branthwaite, Kieran Trippier

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Declan Rice, Conor Gallagher, Kobbie Mainoo, Jarrod Bowen, Anthony Gordon, Jack Grealish, James Maddison

Forwards: Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, Cole Palmer, Ollie Watkins, Ivan Toney, Phil Foden



Ellis Stevens, Reporter

Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring their second goal on April 14, 2024© Reuters

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale

Defenders: Luke Shaw, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Jarrad Branthwaite, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Marc Guehi, Joe Gomez

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kobbie Mainoo, Declan Rice, Adam Wharton, Conor Gallagher, Curtis Jones, Jude Bellingham

Forwards: Phil Foden, Anthony Gordon, Harry Kane, Ollie Watkins, Bukayo Saka, Cole Palmer, Jarrod Bowen, Ivan Toney



Lewis Nolan, Reporter

Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite on April 6, 2024© Reuters

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Dean Henderson

Defenders: Harry Maguire, John Stones, Jarrad Branthwaite, Marc Guehi, Joe Gomez, Jarell Quansah, Kyle Walker, Luke Shaw, Kieran Trippier

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Curtis Jones, Conor Gallagher, Adam Wharton, Kobbie Mainoo

Forwards: Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Ollie Watkins, Cole Palmer, Ivan Toney, Anthony Gordon


Sports Mole's chosen England squad for Euro 2024

England manager Gareth Southgate reacts on March 23, 2024© Reuters

Number of selections in brackets

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (14/14), Aaron Ramsdale (14/14), Dean Henderson (14/14)

Defenders: Harry Maguire (14/14), John Stones (14/14), Kieran Trippier (14/14), Kyle Walker (14/14), Joe Gomez (12/14), Jarrad Branthwaite (12/14), Luke Shaw (11/14), Ezri Konsa (8/14)*, Marc Guehi (8/14)*

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (14/14), Jude Bellingham (14/14), Conor Gallagher (14/14), Declan Rice (14/14), Adam Wharton (13/14), Kobbie Mainoo (12/14)

Forwards: Phil Foden (14/14), Anthony Gordon (14/14), Harry Kane (14/14), Cole Palmer (14/14), Bukayo Saka (14/14), Ollie Watkins (14/14), Jarrod Bowen (11/14), Eberechi Eze (9/14), Ivan Toney (8/14)*

* Two of Konsa, Guehi and Toney

Who missed out on selection?

Lewis Dunk (5/14), James Maddison (5/14), Jack Grealish (4/14), Curtis Jones (4/14), Jarell Quansah (3/14), James Trafford (0/14)

There were 14 players who earned unanimous selections for Southgate's 26-man squad, including many of the expected names - Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane, Kyle Walker, Declan Rice, John Stones, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka amongst them.

All three goalkeepers were agreed upon by the entire team, but perhaps the most surprising unanimous choice was Anthony Gordon, whom the team are firmly backing to beat the likes of Jack Grealish and James Maddison to a place on the plane.

Adam Wharton also got major backing to survive the cut following his breakthrough campaign, while the same could be said for fellow defensive midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, neither of whom were expected to be so strongly in the conversation at the start of the season.

Ivan Toney, Ezri Konsa and Marc Guehi finished level on eight votes apiece and there would only be space for two of them on the plane, meaning that it could come down to a decision on squad balance whether to take two extra defenders or one defender and one striker.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, three of the five uncapped players named in the preliminary squad received the fewest votes amongst our team - Branthwaite and Wharton being the notable exceptions to the rule in that quintet - but Lewis Dunk, James Maddison and Jack Grealish are all players who would have been fancied to be in Southgate's selection at the start of the season.


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England manager Gareth Southgate before the match on November 17, 2023
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Tables header RHS

Group A

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Germany Germany22006
2 Switzerland Switzerland21104
3 Scotland flag Scotland20111
4 Hungary Hungary20020

Group B

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Spain Spain22006
2 Italy Italy21013
3 Albania national flag Albania20111
4 Croatia Croatia20111

Group C

TeamPWDLPTS
1 England flag England21104
2 Denmark Denmark20202
3 Slovenia Slovenia20202
4 Serbia Serbia20111

Group D

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1 France France11003
2 Austria Austria21013
3 Netherlands Netherlands11003
4 Poland Poland20020

Group E

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1 Romania Romania11003
2 Ukraine Ukraine21013
3 Slovakia Slovakia21013
4 Belgium Belgium10010

Group F

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1 Turkey Turkey11003
2 Portugal Portugal11003
3 Czech Republic Czech Republic10010
4 Georgia Georgia10010


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