England train ahead of Germany test
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England face off against Germany tonight in a mouthwatering contest at Euro 2020. Gareth Southgate has tinkered with his team in all three of his side’s matches in the competition so far, meaning guessing his starting XI is quite difficult. However, Express Sport will now take a look at six players we believe are destined to start.
Before Euro 2020, there were some doubts about Jordan Pickford.
But the Everton star, who flourished at the World Cup in Russia three years ago, has silenced his critics with some solid showings so far.
Pickford is yet to concede a goal at the tournament and, with that the case, there’s no chance he’ll be dropped for tonight’s game.
The former Sunderland shot-stopper has also been rumoured to be one of England’s penalty takers should the game go the distance.
Harry Maguire is just feeling his way back from injury.
But the fact he played the full 90 minutes against Czech Republic suggests he’s another who will keep his place for the match against the Germans.
The Manchester United star was rock solid during England’s last outing and, if Southgate is convinced he’s fit enough, he’ll definitely start.
That’s harsh on Tyrone Mings, who is expected to be on the bench.
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Many people were writing John Stones off 12 months ago, especially after Manchester City signed Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake.
But the former Everton star has turned his career around under Pep Guardiola and, these days, is one of the first names on the Spaniard’s team sheet.
Stones has started all three matches for England at Euro 2020 so far, helping them keep their opponents at bay in each game.
So, given how brilliant he is these days, it would be a major surprise to see the 27-year-old left on the bench.
England have Jude Bellingham, Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips both capable of playing in the defensive midfield role.
But Southgate’s preference appears to be Declan Rice, who has been a slick and smooth operator in all three of his outings so far.
Rice is a good asset for England, keeping the ball and snapping at the legs of opponents whenever the Three Lions are out of possession.
And he’s almost guaranteed to start, especially with Henderson still feeling his way back into action.
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Raheem Sterling experienced a difficult season with Manchester City, falling out of favour under Guardiola.
He’s been tipped to depart the Etihad Stadium in the time since, especially with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta showing transfer interest.
But Sterling has put his bad time at City behind him to shine for England so far, notching two goals from three matches.
Given his outstanding form, he’ll be unleashed from the start against Germany – despite the clamour from supporters to see the likes of Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish get the nod.
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It’s been a rough start to Euro 2020 for Harry Kane.
The England international is yet to score and some have even called on him to be dropped as a result of his flat showings.
But that won’t be happening. No chance.
Kane is everything for England and, if he turns up, the Three Lions have a genuine chance of ending their wait for a major trophy.
After all, he’s one of the best strikers on the planet. As the old saying goes: form is temporary, class is permanent.
Southgate speaks out
Speaking before the match against Germany, Southgate called on his England players to rise to the challenge and make history.
“We’ve got boys born into the 2000s, which is obviously scary but it’s the reality of the group we’re dealing with,” he said.
“It’s of no consequence to them what we did in, you know, Peter Bonetti in 1970 and what happened in 1990 and so on.
“Of course, they’re watching that stuff and getting a bit of an understanding of it but it’s not something we’re speaking to them about.
“This team have put down lots of historical performances in the last couple of years, made their own history, made their own stories and this is how they should view this game.
“It’s an opportunity. We’ve only won one knockout match in a European Championship as a country, so they’ve got a great chance to go and be the first team since 1996 to do that.”
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