Europe (UEFA)

5 England stars that featured in Euro 2020 final sweating over World Cup place

mirror.co.uk, 23 September 2022, 08:00
England take on the side that beaten them in the Euro 2020 final in Rome on Friday night - with Gareth Southgate using the fixture against Italy to continue his preparations for the World Cup

England take on Italy on Friday night, looking to extinguish the flames from a summer of discontent.

Gareth Southgate has just two games before he names his 26-man squad for the World Cup in Qatar. And the pressure is firmly on the Three Lions boss after a dismal start to their Nations League campaign.

In four games, England failed to score a single goal from open play, losing twice to Hungary, including a shambolic 4-0 reversal at Molineux last time out. That sell-out crowd in the Midlands showered Southgate's side with boos - all a far cry from the unifying impact they had on the nation just 12 months prior.

England made it all the way to the final during that balmy summer in 2021 and were a penalty shootout away from ending 55 years of hurt. Alas, it was more misery from 12 yards as the Azzurri were crowned European champions in front of a heartbroken Wembley.

In just over a year since that dramatic final, a number of England's most regular contributors have endured a dramatic slump in form. So much so, that a number of those that were involved against Italy have been left nervously hoping they earn a spot on the plane.

Ahead of the renewal of rivalries with the Italians, Mirror Football takes a look at five players who featured in the Euro 2020 final that may not even make the squad when Southgate whittles down his options.

Harry Maguire

There is perhaps no better example of a player saving their best for the international stage. Even before his dramatic downturn in form for Manchester United, there was an argument that Maguire in an England shirt was a markedly better player.

Whether that is down to playing in a three, having better midfield players in front of him, or just simply enjoying his football more - Maguire has rarely ever let Southgate down. But if Erik ten Hag continues to leave him on the sidelines, the clamour for his exclusion will only heighten.

"It is not ideal, but we feel they have been, and can be, important players for us. It is not a perfect situation but there is still a lot of football to be played before Qatar," Southgate said about players not turning out for their clubs. At this point it's still difficult to envisage Maguire not making the cut, but his position is already more precarious than anyone would have ever expected.

Luke Shaw

Had things gone differently, Shaw's goal against Italy would have become one of the most iconic images in English sporting history. As it happens, it goes along with Paul Gascoigne's lunge in '96 and Kieran Tripper's free-kick in 2018 as the ultimate 'what if' moments.

A year on, not only is his place in the XI under threat, Mirror Football understands it will be a straight battle between him and Ben Chilwell to make the squad at all.

Like Maguire, Shaw can no longer boast of being a regular at United and with Kieran Trippier above him in the pecking order, his place is in doubt. Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson suggested that both United players should miss out, if they remain on the sidelines at Old Trafford.

"I think it's difficult for Southgate to pick Maguire and Shaw because if they don't play regularly, it's very difficult to let them play in the national team because it's one thing to train, but it's another to have a regular routine of games. So that's a difficult one," he told BoyleSports.

Kalvin Phillips

Even during the run to the European Championship final, Phillips' place in the England starting XI was a bone of contention. While Declan Rice was a sure-fire starter, the player that started alongside him remained a bone of contention.

A year on, most of that debate has subsided with Jude Bellingham going from strength to strength with Borussia Dortmund. Despite still being a teenager, the ex-Birmingham City star is already placing himself amongst the elite players in his position.

As for Phillips, his progress has been hampered by a number of frustrating injuries. And since moving to Manchester City the former Leeds skipper is another struggling for regular minutes.

To make matters worse, Pep Guardiola has now confirmed Phillips will undergo surgery on his troublesome shoulder, meaning his inclusion in Qatar is literally on a knife edge.

Jadon Sancho

Once a trusted member of Southgate's squad, Sancho went from starter, to fringe player to outcast in just over a year. He came off the bench in defeat to Italy, missing his spot-kick in the shootout.

He then struggled to hit the ground running at United enduring, arguably, the worst season of his senior career. Under Ten Hag he has shown signs he is returning to top form and should he continue with those kinds of performances, he could - and should - warrant a place.

"Jadon Sancho, I thought, warranted a call-up," ex-United defender David May argued. "I don't think he's done anything wrong. Some of his goals have been fantastic.

"It doesn't matter how big the squads are, take him away to give him the experience of being with the first team with England again. I found it a little bit strange that he didn't go."

Marcus Rashford

The similarities between Sancho and his United team-mate are clear. Not only did both players miss from the spot, they both had miserable seasons following it. However, like Sancho, Rashford is looking more like his old self in the early days of this season.

Had he not suffered an injury, Rashford may have been named in the squad for games against Italy and Germany and Southgate revealed the door was still firmly ajar. "There were certain players we wanted to keep involved this time but, that said, it doesn't mean that this is the end for some of the others who aren't involved," he explained.

"Marcus Rashford, for example, has shown some encouraging signs recently. He is a player we know well so, if he can perform at a high level in the next few weeks, of course he will be under consideration."

Read more

Mirror Football's top stories

PSG benefit from £612m Messi windfall

6 infamous player versus pundit clashes

Alarming rise in football fan disorder

Spurs' Conte happy to return to Juventus

Top News

5 October 2022 talksport.com Omonia v Man United LIVE: Ronaldo to start after derby snub as Devils head to Cyprus Manchester United will look for an instant response from their Manchester derby defeat in their Europa League clash against Omonia Nicosia. 5 October 2022 talksport.com Nunez form downplayed as Pearce remembers Arsenal and Liverpool icons' early struggles Darwin Nunez is still looking for his first Anfield goal but Liverpool fans have been told not to panic. 5 October 2022 sportsmole.co.uk Nottingham Forest 'withdraw Steve Cooper contract offer' Nottingham Forest have reportedly withdrawn their offer of a new contract for head coach Steve Cooper. 5 October 2022 sportsmole.co.uk Preview: Queens Park Rangers vs. Reading - prediction, team news, lineups Queens Park Rangers and Reading meet at Loftus Road on Friday evening looking to continue their excellent starts to the 2022-23 Championship campaign. 5 October 2022 sportsmole.co.uk Preview: Osasuna vs. Valencia - prediction, team news, lineups Osasuna will be looking to move into the top four in La Liga when they welcome Valencia to Estadio El Sadar on Friday night. 5 October 2022 talksport.com 'Like playing with MJ' - Ronaldo documentary trailer have fans feeling very nostalgic Ronaldo has got the football world very excited after dropping the trailer for his soon-to-be released documentary. 5 October 2022 mirror.co.uk Gabriel Martinelli admits Arsenal stars miss "sensational" former teammate Gabriel Martinelli has starred for Arsenal as they have stormed to the top of the Premier League - and he has paid tribute to an ex-team-mate who was crucial to his development Gabriel Martinelli has opened up on a former team-mate who is deeply missed at Arsenal 5 October 2022 mirror.co.uk Liverpool eye Bellingham alternative with 'interest' in Bundesliga rival Jude Bellingham is Liverpool's top target next summer, but the Borussia Dortmund star is in high demand meaning the Reds have had to consider alternatives should they miss out 5 October 2022 sportsmole.co.uk Bayern Munich chief rules out move for Jude Bellingham Bayern Munich director Oliver Kahn has ruled out the prospect of his side making a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham next year. 5 October 2022 sportsmole.co.uk Xavi "worried" about Barcelona's Champions League knockout hopes Barcelona boss Xavi has conceded that he is "worried" about his team's position in Group C following their second successive Champions League defeat on Tuesday night. 5 October 2022 mirror.co.uk Owen makes Haaland Erling Haaland has enjoyed a sensational start to life at Manchester City and former Liverpool centre-forward Michael Owen has fired a jokey accusation his way 5 October 2022 mirror.co.uk Jordan Henderson mimics Mo Salah in distracting new role at Liverpool penalties Liverpool secured a morale-boosting win over Rangers in the Champions League on Tuesday, with captain Henderson playing a hidden role in his side's second goal at Anfield Jordan Henderson played a potentially key role in Mohamed Salah scoring his penalty 5 October 2022 sportsmole.co.uk Barcelona provide Andreas Christensen injury update Barcelona have confirmed that Andreas Christensen picked up an ankle ligament injury during Tuesday's Champions League contest with Inter Milan. 5 October 2022 sportsmole.co.uk West Ham United's Declan Rice 'remains Chelsea's top midfield target' West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice remains Chelsea's number one midfield transfer target, according to a report. 5 October 2022 sportsmole.co.uk Anthony Martial 'wants assurances over playing time before signing new Manchester United deal' Anthony Martial reportedly wants to ensure that he will be a regular for Manchester United moving forward before agreeing to sign a new contract at Old Trafford. 5 October 2022 sportsmole.co.uk Arsenal considering Locatelli, Lokonga swap deal with Juventus? Arsenal are reportedly considering a swap deal involving Albert Sambi Lokonga and Manuel Locatelli with Juventus. 5 October 2022 talksport.com Sadio Mane risks wrath of Roy Keane with half-time gesture in Champions League clash Roy Keane would not have been impressed with Sadio Mane as the former Liverpool star swapped shirts with an opponent at half-time. 5 October 2022 mirror.co.uk Antonio Conte reverts to similar excuse as Tottenham dealt fresh reality check Antonio Conte has insisted that Tottenham will need to strengthen their squad if they want to compete in Europe following Tuesday night's draw with Eintracht Frankfurt Antonio Conte has called for patience from Tottenham fans 5 October 2022 mirror.co.uk Alan Shearer slaps down Alexander-Arnold comment as England debate rages on Trent Alexander-Arnold continues to divide opinion as debate continues following his latest England snub with Alan Shearer making his view clear on the Liverpool right-back's international hopes 5 October 2022 talksport.com Video shows Ronaldo showing respect to Man City despite being 'disrespected' himself Cristiano Ronaldo showed some respect to Man City ahead of despite apparently not getting any himself. 5 October 2022 talksport.com Messi and Ronaldo didn't happen, but Man City have found their superstar in Haaland 'We cannot replace him'. These were the words of a teary-eyed Pep Guardiola after iconic striker Sergio Aguero left Man City in 2021. 5 October 2022 mirror.co.uk Darwin Nunez claims he cannot understand Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool instructions The Uruguayan striker has endured a tricky start to life at Anfield and following another game without finding the net has made a claim about Jurgen Klopp's instructions with Liverpool 5 October 2022 mirror.co.uk Thierry Henry highlights three Arsenal players making the difference for Arteta Arsenal kept their place at the top of the Premier League table by winning the north London derby on Saturday, and former title winner Thierry Henry has been impressed by his old club 5 October 2022 bundesliga.com Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich's Der Klassiker debutants feeling big-game anticipation There are those within the ranks of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich who have yet to live and breathe the immensity of the Klassiker, yet as the clock ticks steadily towards one of world football's flagship fixtures, their wait for a taste of this iconic game is almost over. 5 October 2022 talksport.com Agent arrested over email to ex-Chelsea director Granovskaia as police investigate A leading football agent has been arrested on suspicion of blackmailing ex-Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia. 5 October 2022 mirror.co.uk Antonio Conte faces Jose Mourinho accusations after latest Tottenham struggle The Italian head coach has enjoyed a wonderful impact at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium since his appointment but familiar criticism has been sent his way following the side's stalemate against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League 5 October 2022 mirror.co.uk Arteta steps up Arsenal transfer plans as pursuit eyed for 'next Modric' Arsenal may be flying high at the top of the Premier League table, but boss Arteta appears to be keen to boost his squad with more signings in the January transfer window Mikel Arteta is stepping up his efforts to bring in a new midfielder at Arsenal 5 October 2022 sportsmole.co.uk Tottenham Hotspur team news: Injury, suspension list vs. Brighton & Hove Albion Tottenham Hotspur will aim to avoid a third-straight game without a win when they tackle Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium in Saturday's Premier League contest. 5 October 2022 talksport.com Jurgen Klopp seen urging Anfield to cheer Trent Alexander-Arnold off the pitch in brilliant move Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp ensured Trent Alexander-Arnold got a hero's ovation during the 2-0 victory over Rangers on Tuesday night. 5 October 2022 sportsmole.co.uk Antonio Conte: 'Tottenham Hotspur's performance gave me great confidence' Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte has insisted that his side's performance in their Champions League goalless stalemate with Eintracht Frankfurt gave him "great confidence".