England will have high expectations after consecutive semifinal showings in the 2018 World Cup and 2019 UEFA Nations League, but the competition for places means that some big names could be left behind if they slip up in the next year.

By 90Min
July 29, 2019

On the heels of England's consecutive semifinal showings in the 2018 World Cup and 2019 UEFA Nations League, there's plenty of eagerness to look ahead to Euro 2020. WIth the path that Gareth Southgate and the Three Lions are on, surely they'll be among the contenders for the title.

Is it too early in the qualifying process to say that England will definitely be there? Not really. Despite being a nation that has rarely done things the easy way, England looks almost assured of a spot at the tournament after recording 5-0 and 5-1 wins over Czech Republic and Montenegro back in March to kick-start its qualifying campaign. As a fail-safe, its place atop its Nations League group cemented at the very least a place in the playoffs, should England unexpectedly stumble along the way and require it.

With the competition for places fierce as young talents get more first-team minutes, who are some players who enter the season on the cusp of making or missing Southgate's cut? Here is a look at some players who need to rediscover their best form this season, alongside some of the younger prospects who could make their mark if they dazzle in 2019-20:


Dele Alli

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Will Dele Alli make the squad next year? Very likely. Will he start games and make a meaningful impact? On recent form, that is by no means a certainty.

When Alli first came on the scene he was one of the most exciting talents that this country had seen in a long time. A goal-scoring midfielder who popped up in the box at just the right moment; the world was his oyster.

Yet a worrying trend has emerged. Having scored 18 Premier League goals in the 2016/17 season, that number was halved the following year, and dropped to just five last season. Admittedly, he did have his injury problems, but that is still a poor return for someone of his ability. 

The 23-year-old needs to get back to what served him so well in his first couple of seasons at Tottenham. Another season like last and Alli may find himself watching from the sidelines next summer.


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

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Oxlade-Chamberlain missed almost the entire 2018/19 campaign due to a knee injury suffered in April 2018. Now he must remind everyone of what he can do.

His setback came at the worst possible time. He had looked set to play a starring role at the 2018 World Cup having impressed in the heart of the Reds' midfield, but that dream was ruined. 

With England lacking driving runs from midfield at times in his absence, Oxlade-Chamberlain could solve a huge problem for the Three Lions. First things first though, he needs to find his way back into the Liverpool starting XI. 


Kieran Trippier

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Trippier was arguably England's best player during the 2018 World Cup. Of course Harry Kane did finish the tournament with the Golden Boot, but across the whole competition Trippier was consistently impressive, and he scored an exceptional free kick in the semifinal against Croatia. 

Last season, it all went wrong. 

He made a string of errors, and was seen by many as the weak link in an otherwise exceptional Tottenham side.

Now Trippier has moved to Atletico Madrid this summer and will work under Diego Simeone, a coach famed for making his side hard to break down. Trippier has hinted that issues behind the scenes caused him to leave London, and he will be hoping for a change of fortunes in the Spanish capital.

If Simeone can remind the right back how to defend, he may just force his way back in to the England reckoning next summer. 


Luke Shaw

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Shaw was one of Manchester United's better players last season. That would normally mean something, but given how poor United was in 2018/19, it simply means that he wasn't dreadful.

Yet it is fair to say that last season was a step in the right direction for the fullback. He established himself as a first-team regular, which he had struggled to do since arriving in 2014, and managed to steer clear of any major injuries, which have hampered his progress in recent years. 

He still struggled to break in to the England squad though, finding himself below Ben Chilwell and Danny Rose in the pecking order. When Shaw first made an impact as a teenager at Southampton, he was expected to become England's left back for years to come. It has not worked out that way.

The feeling is that there is more to come from the 24-year-old. If he moves to another level this season it will be hard for Southgate to keep ignoring him.


Phil Foden

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Foden may be the best young talent that England have right now. 

The young midfielder got the chance to show what he could do at the Under-21 European Championships earlier this summer, scoring a sensational goal in England's opening group game against France. He was then bafflingly rested by manager Aidy Boothroyd for the second game, a must-win match, which the side lost 4-2 to Romania.

The quality that Foden possesses is there for all to see. The trouble is: will we get to see it enough next season? 

He made just 13 Premier League appearances last season, with the majority of those coming from the bench. He will hope to feature far more regularly in 2019/20 to force his way in to Southgate's plans.


Rob Holding

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Holding had his season cut short last season by a serious knee injury. Not only was that a devastating blow for the player himself, but also for Arsenal fans who had to spend the rest of the season watching Shkodran Mustafi play instead. 

Arsenal's defense has been a concern for years, but there was some hope that Holding could fix some of their issues. He was playing well in the lead up to his injury, and will hope to rediscover that level of performance when he returns in the early stages of next season.

After watching John Stones have the nightmare of all nightmares in England's Nations League defeat to Netherlands in June, the nation are desperate to find a solid defender before next summer. Holding could well make his claim for that spot this season.


Mason Greenwood

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Greenwood has only played three Premier League games thus far, and is only 17. Perhaps next year's tournament will come too soon for him? Well, perhaps not.

At just 17, Greenwood is already making an impact at Old Trafford, and has enjoyed a fine pre-season. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has certainly seen something in him.

Having struggled throughout last season, United are expected to rely more on youth this year as they look to move back in to the top four. That bodes well for Greenwood. 

At the moment he is well behind Kane in England's pecking order, and even has some work to do to overtake club teammate Marcus Rashford. Yet he seems to be improving rapidly and should get plenty of chances to prove himself this year. A first senior international call-up may not be too far away.

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