The World Cup has ended, but in just 18 months, England will have another opportunity to end their now-lingering trophy drought when they take part in Euro 2024 (providing they qualify, of course).
Gareth Southgate oversaw what was ultimately an underwhelming campaign in Qatar as the nation exited at the quarter-final stage to France. Uncertainty loomed over his future at St. George’s Park in the immediate aftermath, but the 52-year-old has decided to stay on and have another crack at silverware.
Confirmation of his decision to remain as Three Lions head coach was revealed by FA CEO Mark Bullingham. His statement read: “We are delighted to confirm that Gareth Southgate is continuing as England manager, and will lead our Euro 2024 campaign. Gareth and (assistant) Steve Holland have always had our full support, and our planning for the Euros starts now.”
Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta complete the group, with just two nations qualifying automatically. The conventional wisdom, of course, will be that England make it out of the group, but nothing is ever a foregone conclusion in football.
Still, with attention now firmly on Germany 2024, how do England rank among the (very) early favourites?
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Latest Euro 2024 outright winner odds: Top 10
|Nation||Sky Bet||Paddy Power|
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England’s Euro 2024 qualifying schedule
|Italy vs England||Stadio Diego Armando Maradona||23 March 2023|
|England vs Ukraine||Wembley Stadium||26 March 2023|
|Malta vs England||National Stadium||16 June 2023|
|England vs North Macedonia||Old Trafford||19 June 2023|
|Ukraine vs England||Japan National Stadium (Tokyo)||09 September 2023|
|England vs Italy||Wembley Stadium||
17 October 2023
|England vs Malta||Wembley Stadium||
17 November 2023
|North Macedonia vs England||Tose Proeski Arena||
20 November 2023
Three ways England could line up at Euro 2024
1. As you were…
There has certainly been criticism levelled at Southgate for what many may dub an overly-cautious approach, and failing to make bold decisions in the big games. But, he certainly cannot be criticised for being unshakeably stubborn with his formation choices, with the England boss regularly mixing things up.
In the Nations League earlier this year he was largely wedded to a back-three set-up, but out in Qatar he was a staunch advocate of a classic back-four. Indeed England played some fluid and at times rhythmic football whilst deploying a 4-3-3 which often reverted to a 4-1-4-1, particularly against France.
So, it will likely be the case that Southgate uses this blueprint going forward, with Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham and a third workhorse making up the midfield trident. Jordan Henderson was the Third Musketeer, but he will be 34 when Germany rolls around, so Kalvin Phillips may slot in instead.
Likewise, Kyle Walker will be 34 and will likely have lost a yard of pace in that time, so Reece James will almost definitely come in to form a back-four consisting of John Stones, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw. Unless, of course, Southgate fancies giving Ben White a go at centre-half, or Ben Chilwell at left-back
Harry Kane’s 31st birthday comes exactly a fortnight after the final and he will be desperate to get an early present, with Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden his most likely support cast up top. The talent pool is enviously dense for Southgate, so he has plenty of options to tinker and tweak over the next 18 months.
2. More familiar pastures
Of course, with Southgate’s staying on confirmation, there were plenty of memes doing the rounds of Trent Alexander-Arnold being ignored for another year and a half. The buccaneering No. 2 is seemingly untrusted by Southgate due to his attack-heavy emphasis, but he simply cannot continue to be shunned.
One option for Southgate is to return to his back-three set-up and deploy James as the third centre-back alongside White and Maguire, with Shaw or Chilwell on the opposite flank. With Rice anchoring the midfield and putting out fires, Alexander-Arnold will have further license to get up the field and instigate attacking moves.
In a similar way to Fabinho covering the space Alexander-Arnold vacates when he goes on one of his signature runs at Anfield, Rice can cover for his defensive counterpart in attacking transitions, with James also pushing out wide and offering further protection.
It is often said that the best managers are tactically malleable and will often shift their own tactical convictions to get the best out of top talent. Alexander-Arnold may not chime with Southgate’s ‘pragmatic’ approach, but the England boss needs to find a platform to get him flourishing for the national team.
Bellingham would take on the ‘Phillips role’ used so effectively at Euro 2020, with the Dortmund conductor tasked with pushing up field and creating in tight pockets, while Kane, Saka and Foden again offer a creatively-brimming dimension up front.
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3. The ‘Under Five Cap’ XI
There is a third option for Southgate that is rather in the realms of Joachim Low’s post-2018 ‘cull’, and that is to go with something completely new. This World Cup bucked the recent trend of England going one better in tournaments under Southgate and that may make him reconsider his philosophy.
That would mean drafting in several players whom England fans have been itching to see play more regularly for the nation team. In this set-up, the likes of James Maddison, Aaron Ramsdale, Fikayo Tomori, White and Emile Smith Rowe all start in this team comprised only of players with under five caps (currently).
With that, we’re also assuming Marcus Edwards continues his rise for Sporting CP and Harvey Elliott keeps oozing creative class in Jurgen Klopp’s midfield. There are also a few left field options that could be considered such as Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, who featured in four of Dortmund’s first five Bundesliga games this season (including two starts) before a shoulder injury halted his season.
Of course, the likes of Ivan Toney, Jack Harrison, Curtis Jones, Harvey Barnes, Jarrod Bowen, James Justin and Joe Willock will continue to push and aim to impress Southgate over the coming months.
Where are England in the FIFA world rankings?
England are currently fifth in the FIFA world rankings with only Brazil, Belgium Argentina and France ahead of them.
Who is the current England captain?
Harry Kane is England captain, named ahead of the 2018 World Cup after Southgate had rotated the armband in his early stages as manager.
How many times have England won the European Championship?
England have never won the European Championship, reaching their first final at Euro 2020, which they ultimately lost on penalties to Italy.
How many times have England competed in the European Championship?
Making their first appearance in 1968, England have been involved in 10 European Championships.
Who has scored England’s most goals in World Cup tournaments?
Alan Shearer is England’s top scorer at European Championships tournaments, scoring seven goals across 1996 and 2000.
Which player from England has the most World Cup appearances?
Kane and Gary Neville have played in 11 European Championship games for England, more than any other players.