England: The Attackers
Another area where the national squad is blessed is with the current crop of attacking talent that Southgate has to pick from. Just like midfield, there has been a great deal of debate about who should and shouldn’t be included in the final 26 man squad for the European Championships. The one man guaranteed to be in is current national team captain Harry Kane. The Spurs forward has once again enjoyed an outstanding season in front of goal, finishing top scorer in the Premier League with 23 goals. He also managed 14 assists in a fruitful campaign, although the 27 year old was once again left disappointed as his club side failed to pick up any silverware, although they did reach the League Cup final. Speculation is rife that Kane will move on this summer, keen to pick up honours in a career which has so far seen plenty of goals but little in the way of awards. Few would bet against the star man featuring heavily in the race for the golden boot in this tournament, and if he does find his shooting boots he could finally end the wait for honours by picking up a title for his country.
Another regular under Southgate, Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling is often the man chosen to accompany Kane in England’s attacking plans. With 61 caps to his name already, and 14 goals, he is definitely another of the more established campaigners, although he has been disappointing this season for City, culminating in Champions’ League defeat although arguably that was one of his better performances in sky blue this season. He made 28 starts as City reclaimed the league title from his former side Liverpool, scoring 10 times and setting up 7 assists, but England fans will be hopefully he re-finds his form of previous seasons if England are going to enjoy success.
Also at City, Phil Foden is one of the main reasons Sterling has perhaps not made more starts. The England youngster is one of the best talents we have seen in a long time, and he has once again really stood out for City this season despite his tender age, and managed 9 goals and 5 assists in the Premier League, also putting in some stand out performances in the Champions’ League as his side reached the final. At International level he has 6 caps, with 4 starts and a 100% win record to date. The 21 year old also has 2 goals for his country, both coming against Iceland, while he has also enjoyed international success with the Three Lions, picking up the Golden Ball for best player in the tournament as England won the U-17 world cup back in 2017.
Across town, Marcus Rashford is another who is a regular under Southgate, although it is perhaps off the field where the Manchester United striker has earned most recognition this season, making a real difference with his constant campaign against child poverty, showing a maturity that defies his age. On the pitch, he finished top scorer for United with 21 goals in all competitions as the side finished 2nd in the league and reached the Europa League final. Since making his debut for the national side back in 2016, he now has 40 caps and 11 goals for his country, and will be hoping to add to that collection at Wembley this summer.
Former Manchester City youngster Jadon Sancho was another member of the U-17 World Cup winning squad who has since gone on to feature for the national team. He showed great confidence in his ability when making the decision to leave City and head to Germany to join Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, and his decision has been rewarded as he is now considered a first team regular for Dortmund, and also a key component of the England squad. The 21 year old Londoner has featured 18 times for his country to date, 50% of those coming as a starter, and has also found the net 3 times. With his pace, energy and creativity, he is another who could stand out if given an opportunity this summer.
Another surprising attacking inclusion is that of Jack Grealish, one of a batch of English attacking midfielders currently enjoying a purple patch in the Premier League. The Aston Villa skipper enjoyed another fine season with his club, which has once again led to a number of bigger clubs sniffing around the 25 year old, and also led to an international debut against Denmark back in September 2020. Since then, Grealish has made another 5 international appearances, and although his fitness was originally in some doubt after picking up an injury which kept him out of a chunk of Premier League games, he has once again returned at just the right time for Southgate to be able to call on him. Grealish is another who can play in several attacking positions, and it remains to be seen just how he will be used this summer.
The final attacking option, 24 year old Dominic Calvert-Lewin is another who has earned his place in the national set up thanks to showing a continual improvement in the Premier League. The former Sheffield United striker posted double figures for the second season for Everton, as he once again led the line well at Goodison Park. Since his debut in October 2020, where he scored against Wales, he now has 8 international caps and 4 goals for England, a very decent return, and offers a great option should Kane struggle for fitness or need a rest.Share this: