Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions have put on an attacking display in the last 18 months, scoring 37 goals in the European qualifiers which saw some impressive results. Big scorelines such as a 7-0 win over Montenegro and a 6-0 win over Bulgaria saw England cruise through the majority of the qualifying matches. With the rise of creative outlets such as Jadon Sancho and Trent Alexander-Arnold, the quality and quantity of competent youngsters in Southgate’s arsenal for the Euro 2020 competition are mind-blowing. The pair of them have a staggering 25 goal contributions in 19 games, and 10 assists for Dortmund and Liverpool respectively. This could prove an unstoppable attacking force on the right hand side for the upcoming European Championships. Nonetheless, recent events in the Premier League could lead to a crisis for Southgate as he sees a handful of his best attackers either injured or suffering a run of poor form.
Harry Kane is the Three Lions captain and 6th ever highest top goal scorer. He also won the World Cup golden boot in the summer of 2018 but is currently out with a hamstring injury which sees him out for two more months until April. With the Premier league season finishing in May and the European championships starting in June, Harry Kane’s fitness will be a big worry for Southgate and many other Three Lions fans as we approach Euro 2020.
To add to their woes, Marcus Rashford who has been the teams top scoring player from the wide positions, is currently out with a back injury, restricting him to the injury table for another 3-4 weeks. The 22 year old who broke his own personal best of 10 goals in a 38 game season, was on route to a season for the history books donning 14 goals and 4 assists in only 22 games. 18 goal contributions at the halfway mark of the Premier League season from the youngster would have given England an astounding outlet on the left hand side for the upcoming Euro 2020 competition, amplifying their chances of bettering the stage they reached in the World Cup not too long ago. Southgate could be left scratching his head with his former number one striker, Jamie Vardy (who is currently in the golden boot position in the Premier League) in retirement from international football. Matters worsen as Callum Wilson and Tammy Abraham both exhibit poor form and unless they are able to display the ability that they are known to have, the onus could be on Rashford and Kane to shake off their injury rust and lead the Three lions from the front once more.
Since the World Cup, Southgate’s young England squad appear to be going from strength to strength, putting on top performances in the Euro 2020 qualifiers and the UEFA Nations League tournament. However, this does not guarantee a strong Euro 2020 competition as bumps materialise is Southgates road to European glory. With formidable opponents such as the World Cup Winning France side and Nations League runners up Netherlands (who eliminated the England Squad on their course to the finals), it seems like the Three Lions would have much benefitted by having a fully fit squad.
By Chris A