Who should Southgate start for England's opening game at Euro 2024?

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Who should Southgate start for England's opening game at Euro 2024?

Gareth Southgate giving out orders to players against Malta
Gareth Southgate giving out orders to players against MaltaReuters
With European qualification now a thing of the past, fans from qualified nations can start to look forward to next summer's tournament in Germany. 2021's Euros finalists England are one of the favourites to win it but which players should Southgate trust to finally bring football home?

England will start their campaign in mid-June next year, read our Flashscore starting XI (assuming everyone is fit) for the big game!

Flashscore's England starting XI for Euro 2024
Flashscore's England starting XI for Euro 2024Flashscore

1 - Jordan Pickford: Whilst there might have been a case last season for Aaron Ramsdale to become England's new number one, the Arsenal goalkeeper has been dropped for David Raya this season and Jordan Pickford's form has been consistently good for Everton

2 - Kyle Walker: Not only has he been incredible for England under Southgate, but Walker remains a pivotal part in a Manchester City side that many believe to be the world's best team, something they could become next month at the Club World Cup. 

3 - John StonesWhen he's been fully fit, Stones has been nothing short of world-class for about two years now and his new inverted midfield role has been such a success that Trent-Alexander Arnold has admitted to learning from his 'exceptional' England counterpart. As long as he is fit next summer, he is the first name on the team sheet. 

4 -  Marc Guehi: This might be seen as a wildcard selection but if Guehi had been playing for one of the traditional top six sides over the last season or two, not many people would be disagreeing with me. He has been exceptional for Palace which can be evidenced by how highly their fans rate him and his continued England call-ups despite playing for a mid-table side. 

He always seems to be improving and in a recent interview with the Daily Mail, he comes across as a player very much keeping his feet on the ground and mind on becoming an England regular. 

He offers England athleticism, controlled aggression and brilliant reading of the game. Importantly for his England chances, he is also very assured on the ball at his feet which has been a sticking point for centre-backs under Southgate in the past. 

5 - Luke Shaw: The Manchester United left-back might have been sidelined for most of this season so far but his form for both club and country has been impressive for a while now and who can forget his vital role for England at Euro 2020? He faces competition in the way of Kieran Trippier who Southgate has used at left-back before and Ben Chilwell. However, Shaw is the best of the trio and when in form, one of the best left-backs in the world. 

6 - Declan Rice: Rice has been a pivotal part of Southgate's England and his game does seem to have gone up a level since his big summer move to Arsenal. That is likely due to the greater freedom afforded to him and players around him but Rice has taken no time to adjust to his new club, despite the greater demands for success.

Rice is nailed on to start for England in June 2024 and he needs to be in good form for the sake of his country. 

7 - Conor GallagherThis might be deemed as another left-field selection but Gallagher's form for Chelsea has been so impressive and surely it is time to freshen up the midfield. Jordan Henderson is simply not playing at a high enough level week in and week out to be selected for England.

The Premier League is light years ahead in terms of both quality and intensity and Gallagher is a workhorse in that Chelsea midfield. He produced a brilliant display and played a key part in Chelsea's 4-4 thriller with treble-winners Manchester City just before the international break.

If his season continues on its current trajectory, he should stand a strong chance of starting in June. 

8 - Jude BellinghamHis move to Real Madrid has got off to a dream start and I am not sure anyone could have predicted Bellingham to be the top scorer in La Liga with a sensational 10 goals in 11 appearances.

It is unlikely with England's array of attacking talent that he will be given the freedom to play just off the striker like he has at Real to such resounding success. However, Bellingham has become a star player for club and country and if he is at his best, Europe should watch out.

9 - Bukayo SakaAlthough Saka's form has been inconsistent this season, he is still England's best winger and one of their greatest attacking threats. Southgate will be hoping Saka is in a better vein of form next June because at his best, he is tricky and unstoppable.

An attack with him Foden, and Kane with Bellingham linking the midfield and attack - could be deadly. The three combined brilliantly to score England's second goal against Malta, something you could imagine happening with frequency next summer.

Saka celebrating goal with Foden and Kane
Saka celebrating goal with Foden and KaneProfimedia

Marcus Rashford, Cole Palmer and Ivan Toney would all provide different problems for defenders off the bench.

10 - Phil FodenHis season is just getting better and better for Manchester City and when Foden is in form, he is a joy to watch. He almost glides along the pitch making the game look effortless and it is time for him to be given a consistent run of games.

Southgate needs to give Foden his confidence leading up to and at the Euros and we are sure he will deliver. England play Brazil in a friendly in March and that could be a perfect game to ignite his England career heading into June.

11 - Harry KaneJust like his England teammate Bellingham, Kane is loving life abroad. Goals have been flowing like water and there is a strong argument for him being the world's best player. England's captain is a certain starter - his link-up play and ability to score from all angles is incredible. 

It is an exciting time for England, this current group of players has everything to create something special next summer and finally deliver what fans have been longing for.  

England - Malta Player Ratings
England - Malta Player RatingsFlashscore

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