On Sunday night it was announced that 12 clubs had agreed to join a European Super League which would replace the UEFA Champions League. The clubs involved were Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus, and Inter Milan.
The clubs involved want a midweek competition with the clubs continuing to compete in their domestic leagues but this has been met with anger from everyone but the founding clubs. UEFA and FIFA are looking to protect their competitions while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to protect the fans. UEFA has stated that any players involved would be banned from representing their nations therefore if no resolution can be reached soon, the outlook of this summer’s European Championships will be drastically altered.
No nation will be affected more severely than England. Only three players from their last starting line-up will be eligible to play. Top scorer Harry Kane will be their biggest loss but a new-look England will lack depth in every area. Gareth Southgate will certainly hope UEFA doesn’t follow through with the threat as England was one of the favourites for this year’s competition. We take a look at how the Three Lions will line up if the ban is imposed.
European Super League To Prove Costly for England
England to come out worst off from European Super League
England will lose new Manchester United number one Dean Henderson but he has yet to win the trust of Southgate so England is relatively unaffected in goal. Nick Pope and Jordan Pickford will fight it out for the number one spot with West Brom‘s Sam Johnstone providing able backup.
The goalkeeping department was one of England’s weakest areas before the Super League saga as Jordan Pickford has struggled ever since his heroics at the 2018 World Cup. Nick Pope doesn’t play as well with his feet as Southgate would want but is as good a shot-stopper as any goalkeeper in the Premier League. It was hoped Dean Henderson would emerge as the number one England have lacked since Joe Hart‘s decline so losing him would be a real shame.
A major debate after England’s last squad announcement was who would feature at right-back. If UEFA follows through with its threat all of England’s main options will be wiped out. Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker, and Kieran Trippier will all be banned leaving Southgate with a difficult decision to make. The impressive Tariq Lamptey would start with Aston Villa‘s Matty Cash backing him up.
Current England internationals Conor Coady and Tyrone Mings would partner each other at centre-back with Everton’s Michael Keane and Mings’ Villa teammate Ezri Konsa in reserve.
Current squad members Joe Gomez, John Stones, Harry Maguire, and Eric Dier would all be banned.
At left-back, the superb Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell get robbed of the chance to play but their suspension gives Aaron Cresswell the chance to finally make his England debut with another Villa player Matt Targett also called up. Targett’s inclusion is dependent on Leicester City‘s James Justin not recovering from a serious injury in time.
England is seriously depleted in defence but can still field a reasonably good back-line. The ban on European Super League players probably won’t last long so it’s important for the available players to really make their mark and make sure they remain in the squad once the banned players return.
After Borussia Dortmund rejected the chance to join the league, Jude Bellingham is set to play a key role in this year’s tournament. The 17-year-old will partner Declan Rice and James Maddison in midfield with Kalvin Phillips, James Ward-Prowse, and Eberechi Eze also included. Declan Rice will have to show some leadership as the most experienced international of the starters and James Maddison will look to impress after failing to make a squad this season. Crystal Palace‘s Eze impressed despite England Under-21’s failure in March so gets another opportunity on the international stage this summer.
Many regulars and fringe players miss out including Mason Mount, Jordan Henderson, and Phil Foden. Loanees Jesse Lingard and Ruben Loftus-Cheek haven’t been considered as their loans will be over when the Euros is taking place. England lacks many players with big-game experience in their midfield and they may struggle in the latter stages when the pressure heats up.
Harry Kane‘s frustrating season continues as he misses out on yet another chance to win a trophy this season. Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford are also banned meaning there’s plenty of room for fringe players to make their mark. With all these key players out, there is much debate on how England may line up in the attack. Jadon Sancho benefits from Dortmund’s decision and can become England’s star player. Jack Grealish starts on the left as the team’s chief creator and Dominic Calvert-Lewin will hopefully benefit from playing with two of Europe’s best playmakers. Harvey Barnes will offer a plan B if England needs a more direct style, while Ollie Watkins scored on his debut last month. Danny Ings and Callum Wilson will battle for the final places in the squad over the coming months.
While England is missing many world-class performers in the attack, the new attack contains players ready to perform on the biggest stage. There’s not much depth but not many nations will possess a better starting attack than England once all bans are taken into account.
Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley), Sam Johnstone (West Brom)
Defenders: Tariq Lamptey (Brighton & Hove Albion), Matty Cash (Aston Villa), Conor Coady (Wolves), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa), Michael Keane (Everton), Aaron Cresswell (West Ham), Matt Targett (Aston Villa)
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Declan Rice (West Ham United), James Maddison (Leicester City), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Ebrechi Eze (Crystal Palace)
Attackers: Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Harvey Barnes (Leicester City), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa), Danny Ings (Southampton).
Players to be Banned for Playing in European Super League
Banning players for something completely out of their control is nonsense and helps the clubs if anything. The founding club’s players would be well-rested and the divide between these clubs and UEFA would be made bigger at a time UEFA needs to desperately close it. This helps Florentino Perez create his own association of players and clubs and distance himself from FIFA similar to how the NBA is distant from international basketball. The decision of a few dictators like owners shouldn’t impact how England line up.
Main Image Credit