What if the bookies picked the England side to kick off the Euros

Harry Maguire a certain starter but Marcus Rashford looks likely to miss out, according to Sky Bet odds.

With the 2020 European Championship fast approaching, it's crunch time for players to prove they have what it takes to make England's starting XI.

In the wake of their semi-final heartbreak in the 2018 World Cup, England will be gearing up to go all the way and bring home the Championship for the first time in their history.

And what better way to start the competition than a grudge match against semi-final conquerors Croatia?

With fans around the country locked in debate over who they think should start, Planet Sport takes a look at the current favourites to take to the pitch on June 13.


Jordan Pickford (8/13 - via SkyBet)

With just six clean sheets this season, Pickford is experiencing a rough patch for Everton and is currently sidelined by an oblique abdominal muscle injury.

But in his international career, Pickford has often been a success in the England squad and will forever be remembered for his heroic performance in the penalty shootout against Colombia in the 2018 World Cup last-16 tie.

After making seven appearances for England in the qualifying stages for the 2020 Euros, Pickford is seemingly Gareth Southgate's go-to goalkeeper for major tournaments.

Despite many considering Pickford's domestic season to be below par, his pinpoint distribution and previous international experience has propelled him to the top of the bookies' list.

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Nick Pope (5/2)

Despite Pickford being the current favourite for England's number one spot, Nick Pope's stalwart performances for Burnley this season haven't gone unnoticed.

With nine clean sheets in 28 appearances, Pope's leadership at the back for Burnley has been a major factor in them staying clear of the relegation battle.

Having initially been called up for England's World Cup squad in 2018, Pope played second fiddle to Pickford. But after making his international debut against Kosovo in the 2020 Euro qualifying match last year, and with Pickford's injury situation unclear, Pope could be well placed to claim the No. 1 spot.


Harry Maguire (1/5 - via SkyBet)

Topping the list as the most likely defender to start for England is Manchester United captain Harry Maguire. An ever-present for his side, Maguire's consistency could prove vital in a packed summer schedule.

With United second in the table, Maguire has shown the leadership ability worthy of marshalling England's defence come the summer.

Throughout his reign, Southgate has employed a number of formations and systems, leaving England fans guessing whether it'll be four or five defenders at the back. But with a dominant physical presence and an ability to pass out from the back, regardless of which formation is picked in the summer, Maguire is likely to be one of the first names on the team sheet.

John Stones (1/3)

After being left out of Pep Guardiola's Manchester City line-up at the start of the year, Stones' career looked to be tailing off.

But after a comeback story worthy of a Rocky film, Stones' rejuvenated form has been pivotal in helping City to 16 clean sheets this season.

In the 2018 World Cup, Stones' formidable partnership with fellow Yorkshiremen Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker provided a sturdy foundation for the England side.

And, after witnessing Stones' return to form, Southgate may be encouraged to revert back to a defence that served him so well in the World Cup.

Luke Shaw (8/11)

With five assists this season, Shaw has finally lived up to the high expectations placed on him following his record breaking £30million transfer to Manchester United in 2014.

After making his first appearance aged 18 in the 2014 World Cup, a devastating double leg break in 2015 put Shaw's international career on hold.

Battling to return to full fitness, Shaw struggled to produce consistent performances at club level, leading him to believe he'd never play for England again.

But after a dramatic upturn of form, Shaw's dazzling attacking displays this season have put him back in contention for a starting spot.

Kyle Walker (5/6)

Completing England's defensive Yorkshire trio is Kyle Walker. Despite sharing a role with Joao Cancelo for Manchester City this season, Walker remains prominent in a City side that looks nailed on to win the Premier League again.

At the age of 30, Walker's experience on the international stage makes him an important presence in the dressing room.

And despite entering his 30s, Walker's blistering pace and ability to cover others makes him a valuable asset for the England defence.

Deployed mostly as a right-back for his club, Walker has also shown his versatility as a centre-back in previous England campaigns, giving Southgate an array of options at his disposal.

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Ben Chilwell (11/8)

After making a £45million move to Chelsea last summer, Chilwell was considered by many to be England's best left-back.

His ability to burst down the line paired with an equally impressive ability to defend made him a well-rounded option for England's defence.

But since the sacking of Frank Lampard in January, Chilwell has struggled for consistent first-team soccer.

Coupled with Shaw's renaissance, Chilwell has slowly fallen down the pecking order for England.

Kieran Trippier (7/4)

Trippier's free-kick against Croatia in the 2018 World Cup semi-final will forever live in the memories of England fans as the moment that almost took them to the final.

But aged 30, Trippier faces competition from an abundance of talent for the right-back position at England, Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James are all in the mix, meaning Trippier may struggle to add to his 25 caps.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (7/4)

Last season, Alexander-Arnold was undoubtedly one of the best right-backs not just in England, but in the world. With a Premier League title and a Ballon D'or nomination under his belt at 22 years of age, he looked nailed on to become England's first choice right-back for years to come.

But after enduring a disappointing season with Liverpool, his defensive abilities have been questioned.

Currently in seventh, Liverpool's form has mirrored Alexander-Arnold's performances, with the young defender struggling to live up to the high standards he set himself in their title-winning campaign.


Declan Rice (1/2 via Sky Bet)

West Ham have proved to be the dark horse of this Premier League season, with the Hammers very much in the mix for a Champions League spot.

Their success in the league can often be attributed to the commanding performances of Rice in the centre of the pitch.

His lung-bursting energy from midfield has made him a fan-favourite at the Olympic Stadium. And, after pledging his future to England in 2019, Southgate was quick to integrate him into the England side, handing him his debut just a month later against the Czech Republic.

After continuing his fine form this season, it is no wonder Sky Bet have Rice as the most likely midfielder to take to the pitch on June 13.

Jordan Henderson (4/6)

Often coined as England's unofficial vice-captain, Henderson was a major part of England's 2018 World Cup success.

Despite missing his penalty in the shootout against Colombia, Henderson consistently impressed England fans with his passion and energy in the middle of the park.

If the Euro's hadn't been postponed, many would have had Henderson as one of the first names on the team sheet. But after a disappointing, injury-stricken season with Liverpool, Henderson's grip on an England starting spot is not as firm as it once was.

But with the Liverpool captain scheduled to be fit just in time for the Euros, his experience, leadership, and freshness, may be vital when the competition kicks off.

Mason Mount (4/6)

Since impressive loan spells at Vitesse and Derby County, Mount has stamped his authority as a regular starter for Chelsea.

Former Chelsea manager and England midfielder Frank Lampard frequently expressed his admiration of Mount. Since his sacking, the young midfielder has continued his fine form in the league, scoring five and assisting three times this season.

And Lampard isn't Mount's only admirer. After inviting him to train with the senior team ahead of the 2018 World Cup, Southgate called Mount up to the UEFA Nations League squad in 2018 before handing him his official debut against Bulgaria in the Euro 2020 qualifying stage.

With 13 England caps already to his name at 22, Mount looks a good bet to build on that number this summer.

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Jack Grealish (11/8)

With 16 goal contributions in 22 games this season, Jack Grealish's form has been the driving force behind Aston Villa's success this season.

After teetering on the brink of relegation last season, Grealish's attacking flair and ability to unlock a defence has reversed the club's fortunes and singled him out as a player worthy of performing on the international stage.

His talent was recognised by Southgate last year when he called up Grealish for England's UEFA Nations League squad - he went on to make his international debut as a substitute in the 0-0 draw against Denmark.

Despite not being touted as a favourite to start for England, Grealish's natural ability on the ball has left many fans believing he could play a serious part in England's success come the summer.


Harry Kane (1/6 via Sky Bet)

Possibly the least surprising out of all this list is England's captain Kane. After scoring six goals and securing the Golden Boot in the 2018 World Cup, Kane has maintained his impressive form and is considered one of the world's greatest strikers.

Currently topping the Premier League's scoring charts with 17 goals, Kane is a no-brainer for Southgate when it comes to picking his England squad.

Kane has already made 51 caps for England, scoring 32 goals in the process. Jimmy Greaves, with 43, is the only player to have scored more in their first 50 international appearances.

Kane's presence in the box and ruthless finishing makes him the ideal talisman in England's attack, leaving no doubt he'll spearhead the team in the first game against Croatia.

Raheem Sterling (1/3)

Sterling's rise to success at Liverpool and Manchester City instantly made him one of England's most promising talents. After making his international debut at the tender age of 18 against Sweden, Sterling has not looked back and is now considered one of the more experienced players in a relatively young England side.

Under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola, Sterling's game has progressed massively, most notably in his goalscoring ability in recent years. After notching 20 goals last season, Sterling has scored nine this season and looks a threat regardless of which wing he plays on.

Despite his rich form for Manchester City, Sterling hasn't always been as ruthless in front of goal for England. He endured a 27-game goalless run for his country, including the entirety of the 2018 World Cup.

But in the 2020 Euros qualifying stage, Sterling refound his shooting boots and went on to score a hat-trick in a 5-0 dismantling of the Czech Republic. Southgate will be hoping he's saved that pair for June 12 if he's going to line up against Croatia.

Jadon Sancho (10/11)

After worries about playing time, Sancho's decision to swap Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund has paid off in spades.

Sancho has 36 goals in 100 appearances for the Bundesliga side, sparking rumours of a move back to the Premier League.

He also caught the eye of Gareth Southgate who handed him a debut against the Croatians in the 2018 UEFA Nations League.

A brace in the Euro qualifying match against Kosovo underlined his importance to England and despite the threat of Marcus Rashford, it is Sancho who the bookies believe will complete England's starting XI.

Bubbling under

Marcus Rashford (11/8)

Rashford's magnificent humanitarian work has left many admiring his character outside of soccer. But with 18 goal contributions in the Premier League this season, Rashford has been equally impressive on the pitch.

Helping Manchester United up to second in the league, Rashford has played a pivotal role going forward, showing his keen eye for goal regardless of what position he plays.

His ability to play anywhere among the front three is an asset that could prove valuable to Gareth Southgate in the summer.

Additionally, with 40 caps already under his belt, Rashford can be considered one of the more experienced members of the squad despite being only 23 years old.

However, with the likes of Sancho and Sterling competing for the forward positions, England's plethora of attacking options may have to be well rotated when the European Championship comes around.

* Odds correct at time of publication

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