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England midfield: Southgate has Euros quality, depth and flexibility

E

ngland’s midfield has so often been the one area to send shivers down the spine of supporters.

No matter who has played there, someone else has always seemed to have a better case. The quality, and quantity, of options for Euro 2020 means that fear may finally subside.

That Jordan Henderson’s fitness is not a huge concern for all those around the Three Lions is a mark of the quality Gareth Southgate has available to him in midfield.

It goes without saying that everyone will hope the Liverpool captain is available to face Croatia on June 13, but the cover available is more than capable.

Declan Rice’s injury during the last international break provided a big scare for Southgate. The West Ham midfielder has become one of the first names on the team sheet after a difficult start to his England career and is becoming a confident leader.

There is optimism around the shoulder injury sustained by Kalvin Phillips and the Leeds man brings an energy to midfield that few others possess.

Phillips is canny on the defensive side and has quite the eye for a pass, but whether he and Rice are needed together remains to be seen.

Southgate, though, finally has an abundance of choice in the area many have felt England were short in years gone by.

Declan Rice and Mason Mount appear nailed on to start for England at the Euros

/ The FA via Getty Images

Two positions are all but nailed down – those of Rice and Mason Mount. The Chelsea midfielder has shrugged off early season questions and is vital to any success England may enjoy this summer.

Should Henderson be fit he will likely take that final spot in a midfield three, while one of the seven midfielders named are likely to be cut from the final squad. But Southgate has the flexibility to transform his side with one change in the middle.

Jesse Lingard comes into the tournament on a high and adds a touch of quality going forward. Jude Bellingham is untested at this level but is packed with confidence and class while for a side who can be such a threat from set-pieces, who else would you want to call on but James Ward-Prowse?

One of those three will likely be cut from the squad next week, but regardless England’s midfield head into the summer in good shape.


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