Gareth Southgate has revealed he has a ‘very good idea’ of his starting XI for England’s first Euro 2020 game against Croatia on 13 June.
Southgate was speaking after naming his squad for the tournament on Tuesday. After months of rumours Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold did make the cut, while the likes of Jesse Lingard, James Ward-Prowse and Ben Godfrey dropped out.
England kick off their Euro 2020 campaign against Croatia on Sunday 13 June – the team who knocked them out in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals. Prior to that they will play two warm-up games against Austria and Romania.
Southgate said that his XI for that Croatia game is unlikely to change, unless players seriously impress him in training or the two friendlies.
“Everybody wants to play well and can affect our decision making in these two matches and in the training sessions in the lead up,” he said. “We’ve got a very good idea of what we want to do but that’s always got to be open to change.”
England will play each of their three group games at Wembley. London is also hosting the semi-finals and final, as well as two round of 16 fixtures, one of which the Three Lions could compete in if they top Group D.
Despite this, Southgate was keen not to overplay the effect that home advantage could have on his side’s chances.
“It’s exciting for the players to be playing at Wembley and with fans back in the stadium. I know some of the clubs have played in front of fans, we haven’t had the opportunity yet,” he said.
“We won’t win matches just because we’re at home, we’ve got to play well. Home advantage – we’ve seen over the last 18 months that it hasn’t been the same without full stadiums so we hope fans coming back can have an influence on that. But in the end, you’ve got to play well.”
Southgate also discussed the favourites for the tournament, revealing that he expects tough competition in the summer.
“European Championships always have a high level of opposition. We can’t look any further than the group stage at the moment. We play World Cup finalists in our first game. We’ve got a derby with Scotland and then we’ve got the Czech Republic – who are one of the most improved teams in Europe,” he said.
“There are eight to ten teams that could win this tournament. You’ve got teams that are improving rapidly with experienced managers: Spain and Italy, for example. Teams like Denmark have picked up successful results over a long period of time. They are other teams that can beat anyone on their day.
“We’ve proved we can beat anyone on our day but we’ve got to do that consistently to have a good tournament.”