Football Features

How will England line up at Euro 2024? Stats + odds-based XIs

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:15, 11 June 2024 | Updated: 11:53, 13 June 2024

We’re less than a week away from the start of England’s Euro 2024 tournament.

The Three Lions open their campaign on Sunday 16th June against Serbia, with Gareth Southgate now set on the 26 men he’ll take to Germany.

Southgate’s men didn’t exactly prepare well for the tournament, losing 1-0 to Iceland at Wembley following a 3-0 win against Bosnia and Herzegovina — the only victory in their last five matches. However, England remain one of the big favourites to go all the way.

People are already making their predictions for the starting XI against Serbia and across the tournament as a whole. So we’ve decided to get involved.

But we’ve decided to look at the data. Using our Squawka Score, we’ve picked out the best 11 players in their respective positions among England’s 33-man provisional squad, with a minimum of 1,710 minutes played in their respective leagues. Check out who makes it below.

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Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford

Jordan Pickford has made the England No.1 shirt his own and would have probably been Southgate’s starting goalkeeper regardless of the 2023/24 campaign. But the Everton shot-stopper shone in the Premier League while his rivals for the England shirt all floundered.

Pickford kept 13 clean sheets in the Premier League in 2023/24, with only David Raya having more shutouts. He also made 121 saves as Everton boasted the fourth-best defence in the Premier League. Pickford conceded 51 goals in total from 53.47 Expected Goals on Target Conceded, preventing 2.47 goals with his saves.

Right-back: Kyle Walker

Another score to justify what will likely be Southgate’s suggestion, Kyle Walker was the dependable right-back for Manchester City as they won the Premier League for a fourth season in a row. Walker played 32 matches in total with four assists from 25 chances created and seven big chances created.

The 34-year-old also did his bit defensively, winning possession 67 times in the middle third and 74 times in the defensive third. It’s this solidity at the back that Southgate likes about Walker, adding to his threat down the flank, which comes with 579 final third passes completed, inside the top 10 in the Premier League for 2023/24.

Centre-back: Marc Guehi

Crystal Palace had a poor start to the 2023/24 Premier League campaign but once they found their feet, after Olivier Glasner’s appointment, the Eagles were an impressive side. And at the heart of their defence was Marc Guehi, who continues to improve. Still only 23, Guehi suffered a knee injury in February that kept him out for 12 games, but he returned just in time for the final few matches of the season.

Even with his time out, Guehi won possession in the defensive third 71 times, a decent return for a centre-back. He also won possession in the middle third 49 times, again a good amount for a centre-back with a little over 2,000 minutes. Guehi is also a strong passer with 87.22% pass accuracy and 1,540 touches in his time on the pitch, averaging 3.78 long passes completed per 90 minutes.

With Harry Maguire injured, Guehi’s role could become vital.

Centre-back: Ezri Konsa

Partnering Guehi in our defence is someone who might actually turn into Southgate’s ultimate utility man. Ezri Konsa played in every defensive position in one game against Bosnia, starting out at right-back before switching to left-back and, finally, centre-back. And given John Stones is a fitness doubt against Serbia, this could actually be the partnership we see.

Konsa averaged 1.58 tackles and 1.99 clearances per 90 minutes during the 2023/24 Premier League, while he got through a whopping 50 games as Aston Villa went deep in the Uefa Europa Conference League.

Left-back: Kieran Trippier

Okay, we’re being slightly cheeky here putting a right-back at left-back, but our hands have been forced. Luke Shaw didn’t make the cut for our minutes threshold and Joe Gomez has played across the backline, so falls in his score. There is also the fact that Kieran Trippier will likely be England’s starting left-back at the Euros, having been favoured there before, including against Bosnia and Iceland recently.

He’s also the highest-scoring full-back in the England squad, helped by his set-piece threat. Trippier provided 10 assists in the 2023/24 Premier League season, with only two players managing more. That came from 65 chances created, and a set-play xA of 2.44 — alongside an open-play xA of 4.63. Trippier also completed 69 crosses in the Premier League, with only two players completing more.

No.6: Declan Rice

  • Squawka Central Midfielder Score: 66%

For the holding role, we went with a slightly different Central Midfielder Score, and Declan Rice perhaps unsurprisingly comes out on top here. He has been playing slightly more advanced for Arsenal in the Premier League, which allowed Rice to score seven goals and provide eight assists, with 47 chances created and 58 shots.

But for England, Rice will be the tempo controller, using his passing to build up play while also providing a shield for the defence. In the 2023/24 Premier League, Rice completed 2,019 passes with an accuracy of 90.66%, 653 completed final third passes and five assists directly from set-pieces. He also won possession 84 times in the middle third and 66 times in the defensive third alongside 83 tackles and 44 interceptions. There’s nothing he can’t do.

No.8: Trent Alexander-Arnold

In a midfield three, Southgate will play with two No.8s, so that’s what we’ve gone with for our Squawka Scores here. James Maddison actually scored top here but hasn’t made the squad, while Eberechi Eze also featured high but likes to operate much further forward.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, then, is the pick and there’s a high chance he will indeed serve this role in Germany.

England’s midfield will be in safe hands, with Alexander-Arnold first among Liverpool players in the 2023/24 Premier League for a number of key per 90 metrics, including final third passes attempted (24.55), through-balls attempted/completed (0.92/0.38), long passes attempted/completed (13.8/6.13) and touches (98.63). Contrary to popular belief, Alexander-Arnold can also defend and was his team’s top performer for interceptions per 90 minutes (1.29) and second for possessions won in the defensive third (3.29).

Trent will be the direct supply line between the defence and England’s fearsome front four.

No.8: Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham went to Real Madrid with high expectations, but he exceeded them. The Englishman took the No.5 shirt and had one of the best debut campaigns in the club’s history. Lifting the La Liga title — as well as the Champions League, although that’s not counted here — Bellingham scored 19 goals and provided six assists in 27 appearances, missing portions of the season through injury.

Bellingham’s 19 goals came from just 61 shots, with a conversion rate of 31.1%, the second-best record in La Liga among players with at least 10 goals. He also ranks in the top 10 for final third passes attempted and completed, though naturally that will be impacted by Bellingham playing in a more advanced position for Real Madrid. Nonetheless, Bellingham is one of the best players in England’s squad.

Right Winger: Cole Palmer

What a season Cole Palmer had. No one could have expected he’d have the impact he did at Chelsea, also playing his way into the England squad. There’s no way Southgate could have ignored him. The 22-year-old was directly involved in 33 goals in the Premier League, with only Erling Haaland scoring more than his 22, and only Ollie Watkins ahead of his 11 assists.

A lot will be made about the number of penalties Palmer scored, with nine in total, but that still means there were 13 non-penalty goals. Palmer also took 109 shots — the third-most in the Premier League — and created 72 chances. 10 of Palmer’s 11 assists also came from open play, with only two players completing more through balls than his 13. He probably won’t start for England, falling behind more established stars, but Southgate has to work out how to get the PFA Young Player of the Year involved.

Striker: Harry Kane

  • Squawka Striker Score: 81%

Bayern Munich had their worst season since 2011, but Harry Kane did not. The Englishman did all he could for Bayern in their failed Bundesliga campaign, scoring a whopping 36 goals — naturally the most in the league. Kane also came out on top for goals scored from headers (8) and big chances scored (29).

Of course, what helps Kane is the number of shots he takes, leading the Bundesliga with 146 in total and 67 on target, another league-high. No player had a higher xG or xGOT than Kane, who also led for non-penalty xG and non-penalty xGOT. In short, he was the best goalscorer in the Bundesliga and Europe’s top five leagues.

Left Winger: Phil Foden

  • Squawka Winger Score: 76%

On equal score with Palmer, Phil Foden will likely play on the left wing for England, with Bukayo Saka on the right. Foden also had a fantastic season, ending with the Premier League title and PFA Player of the Year. Foden was directly involved in 27 goals in the Premier League, scoring 19 and providing eight assists. He was the player to step up at key moments for Man City and ran the show at times with 73 chances created.

Only four players completed more final third passes in the Premier League than Foden’s 677, and he was also in the top 10 for through balls completed. Foden’s finishing was also spectacular, with an xG of 10.34 but an xGOT of 16.17, massively improving his chances of scoring by his shot placement. And, finally, he pressed from the front with only three players winning possession in the attacking third more than his 35 times.

Foden will be looking to improve considerably on a surprisingly modest record of four goals and eight assists in 34 caps for England to date.

England’s Euro 2024 bookmaker predicted XI

Here is the 13/8 favourite England Starting XI to face Serbia in their Euro 2024 from Sky Bet: