It was inevitable that England would qualify for Euro 2020. The Three Lions tend to coast through qualifying. A 7-0 win over Montenegro at Wembley on Thursday night confirmed England place at next years tournament.
Like most of their group games, England dominated and ran out comfortable winners. The victory was the Three Lions biggest home win in 32 years. One notable thing was the age of Gareth Southgate’s starting line-up. At an average age of 23 years and 255 days, it was England’s youngest ever starting eleven in a competitive game.
England have improved since the World Cup
The Three Lions may have made the semi-finals of last years World Cup, but the football on display was not great. Southgate’s team majorly threatened from set-pieces in Russia. However, they very rarely threatened in open play.
During qualifying for Euro 2020, England have looked like a far better-balanced team, with more skill, creativity and invention. Of course, the level of opposition in Group A has not been great. However, the group games have given Southgate a chance to integrate some younger players into the team, who have impressed.
New players looking the part
England now seem to have a highly promising generation of young players. The likes of Ben Chilwell, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jadon Sancho have grasped their opportunity at international level. All three have not looked out of place and seem set to cement their starting places in England’s starting line-up.
That is without even mentioning Marcus Rashford, who is still only young in terms of years. However, he has played a lot of football for both club and country in the last year or so.
The game against Montenegro saw the likes of Harry Winks and Mason Mount impress from the start, while in-form pair James Maddison and Tammy Abraham produced typically impressive performances as substitutes. The Leicester star provides flair and creativity from the number ten role. He and Mount are two top options to have in the number ten role.
Both have suddenly become viable options for Southgate. Abraham meanwhile grabbed his first international goal after coming off the bench as a second-half replacement for captain Harry Kane.
The Chelsea youngster could provide England with a perfect alternative to the Tottenham star, as he is maturing into a fine forward player. His exposure to first-team football at Stamford Bridge has no doubt helped his development.
England need to deliver on the big stage
In recent years, England have cruised to qualification for the majority of recent international tournaments. The fact that most of their opposition has failed to put up much of a fight against the Three Lions has made it hard to judge the quality of the current team.
Next years tournament will be a real test of the current England team. The Three Lions are odds of 9/2 to win Euro 2020, which makes Southgate’s team one of the favourites to triumph.
On paper, England look to have a highly talented young squad of players. Southgate now has good options in a number of positions, especially going forward, which if used right should give England a good chance of success at Euro 2020.
For too long England have underachieved at international level. Last years World Cup showed that they can go far in tournaments. However, maybe they can not only go far in Euro but do it with the sort of swagger they have produced in qualifying.
Can England mount a realistic challenge for Euro 2020?
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