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England’s Euro 2024 squad – Southgate’s big decisions

Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Euro 2024 has been a constant topic of debate ever since they crashed out of the 2022 World Cup in the quarter-finals to France.

That debate will soon be over, with the England boss naming his provisional squad for Germany on Tuesday, from 14:00 BST.

We take a look at some of the key issues before the announcement and ask you to pick your preferred starting XI for the Three Lions’ opening game against Serbia.

Is Rashford’s place at risk? The wide forward conundrum

This area of the pitch is probably where England have the most depth.

At one point you could have predicted that Southgate’s front three would be Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford.

However, with Rashford’s form and fitness with Manchester United being up and down, the left side of England’s attack is up for grabs.

Rashford was the player who brought electric pace to the England attack and, even when playing poorly, that ability to run in behind teams meant his place was safe.

However, Phil Foden has had the best season of his career – often played on the left – and it would be very hard for Southgate to leave him out.

Anthony Gordon has also had an excellent season for Newcastle and made his England debut in March. His work-rate and discipline is a big plus for him, as is his ability to run beyond the last defender.

Jack Grealish is another who missed the last international camp. He’s been in and out of the Manchester City side in another dominant campaign for them, but may have slipped down the pecking order for England. He’s been an important impact player for his country though, and played a big role in Euro 2020.

Cole Palmer must also be a consideration. He’s scored 22 Premier League goals this season and been Chelsea’s standout player. He also had a 100% penalty conversion rate and that could be another factor for Southgate as he plans for the knockout part of the tournament.

Keep faith with the old guard? – big decisions in midfield

Two of the three central midfield positions are virtually guaranteed thanks to Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham. So the question for Southgate is who are the options for the third slot?

In England squads, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold is considered a midfielder, but that experiment has been curtailed by injury.

Jordan Henderson’s move to Saudi Arabia, and then Ajax, leaves his position in the squad vulnerable and Kalvin Phillips was not picked after his disappointing loan move to West Ham.

Manchester United youngster Kobbie Mainoo only made his England debut in March, bypassing the under-21s, and was very impressive in friendlies against Brazil and Belgium, increasing the clamour for him to make the starting XI.

Watkins or Toney? Who is on Kane standby?

Harry Kane is obviously England’s first-choice striker but a back injury sharpens the focus on his understudies.

Ollie Watkins has had an incredible season for Aston Villa, scoring 19 non-penalty goals in the Premier League and providing 13 assists as they qualified for the Champions League.

He has played 11 times for England, starting four games and scoring three times.

Southgate has referenced that the team need to play to Watkins’ strengths and adapt to the fact that he is a different player to Kane.

Another back-up for Kane is Brentford’s Ivan Toney. He is more similar in style to Kane, as the focal point at the head of the attack. He scored his first England goal from the penalty spot in March and looked at home on the big stage.

However, Toney’s club form has not been great, not scoring in 12 games since hitting four goals in five on his return from a ban for breaching FA betting rules.