Next summer’s European Championships line-up is now complete following the play-off fixtures for the tournament, with Hungary, North Macedonia, Slovakia and Scotland the final four teams to book their place amongst the continent’s finest.
The delayed and expanded tournament is set to feature a host of the game’s greatest players with the Premier League likely to be amongst the most well represented domestic leagues, and we’ve decided to pick out some of the notable names set to feature next summer.
Here is the Football Faithful’s best XI of Premier League players who will be at the Euros:
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris – France
France will head into next summer’s tournament as world champions and favourites to add the European Championship to their World Cup success in 2018, a star-studded side captained by Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
The 33-year-old has endured periods of inconsistency but remains amongst the best shot-stoppers in the Premier League when at his best, enjoying a superb showing against Portugal as France booked their place at the Nations League finals this week.
Lloris has impressed for Spurs since returning from an arm injury last season and remains a pivotal figure for both club and country, his experience, athleticism and leadership earning his inclusion in our side ahead of the likes of David De Gea, Rui Patricio and Kasper Schmeichel.
Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold – England
Trent Alexander-Arnold will be hoping to cement his position in the England side ahead of next summer’s tournament amid a wealth of competition for the Three Lions at right-back, the likes of Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Reece James all competing for a starting spot.
The 22-year-old is yet to truly transform his club performances onto the international stage but his success for Liverpool earns his place in our XI, Alexander-Arnold having enjoyed huge success since coming through the academy system at Anfield.
The right-back has lifted the Champions League and Premier League over the past two campaigns and was named as the PFA Young Player of the Year last season, the accolade coming after eclipsing his own record for most assists by a defender in a Premier League season.
Only two players created more chances in the Premier League last season and only Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne provided more assists, Alexander-Arnold’s technique and creativity a potent weapon from full-back.
Centre-back: Ruben Dias – Portugal
Manchester City’s club-record signing will feature for a Portugal side that will enter next summer’s tournament as the holders, with Fernando Santos’ side possessing the talent to reach the latter stages once more.
Dias made his debut shortly before the 2018 World Cup but did not feature in the tournament, though he has since established himself as a fixture in the team, earning 23 caps and winning the inaugural Nations League last summer.
His performances for club and country saw him make a record-breaking move to the Premier League during the summer and he has enjoyed an impressive start at the Etihad, helping solidify Pep Guardiola’s defence and demonstrating the type of leadership that has been lacking of late.
Dominant in the air and comfortable in possession, Dias earns selection here over Man City defensive partner Aymeric Laporte, who has struggled to win favour with France despite his performances at club level.
Centre-back: Virgil van Dijk – Netherlands
Virgil van Dijk faces a race against time to be fit for the European Championships after sustaining a serious knee injury during last month’s Merseyside Derby, though the early indications are that the Netherlands international could feature next summer.
Van Dijk has established himself as arguably the best centre-back in world football over the past few seasons and remains an irreplaceable figure for both club and country, starring during Liverpool’s run to Champions League and Premier League success and captaining the Oranje through qualification.
After finishing third at the 2014 World Cup the Dutch have failed to qualify for each of the past two major tournaments during a transitional time, though breezed through qualification to finish as runners-up to Germany and book their place at the finals.
Ronald Koeman’s departure to Barcelona means that Frank de Boer will now be in charge of the Netherlands who face Ukraine, Austria and North Macedonia in Group C, and the new coach will be praying he has Van Dijk to call upon as the leader of his youthful side.
Left-back: Andy Robertson – Scotland
At long last, Scotland will play in a major tournament after the national side ended a 22-year wait, beating Serbia on penalties in a dramatic play-off to book their place at Euro 2021.
Scotland will be captained in the tournament by Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson, who has emerged as one of the best in the world in his position since signing for the Reds three years ago.
The 26-year-old combines a relentless industry with a creative quality from the left-flank, registering double figures for assists in each of the past two Premier League seasons, the performances of Robertson and full-back partner Alexander-Arnold a vital component of Liverpool’s attacking play.
Scotland will head into next summer’s tournament as rank underdogs and face a mouthwatering clash against old rivals England in Group D, Steve Clarke’s side desperate to make their presence felt after a long wait for tournament football.
Midfield: Thiago – Spain
Liverpool’s summer signing has endured a frustrating time since moving to the Premier League, making just two appearances for the Reds following spells out due to coronavirus protocols and injury.
Thiago, however, remains one of the best midfield talents in the game and edges our deepest-lying position over Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante, in a midfield trio packed with creativity and invention.
The Spain international plays the game with an effortless grace and combines sublime skill with a desire to win back possession, the 29-year-old comfortable in a variety of roles from defensive playmaker to advanced creator.
Thiago will form part of a Spain squad stacked with talent and looking to make a major impact next summer, following three underwhelming performances since a golden period in which La Roja won an unprecedented three major tournaments in succession between 2008 and 2012.
Midfield: Kevin De Bruyne – Belgium
Arguably the best player in the Premier League and the key figure for the world’s number one ranked nation at present, Kevin De Bruyne will be tasked with helping Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’ finally deliver next summer.
Belgium reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and will be looking to improve on that at Euro 2021, having amassed a flawless 10-game winning run during qualifying and finishing as the leading scorers with a mammoth 40 goals.
Manchester City’s midfield maestro could well prove the difference for the Red Devils at next summer’s tournament, the reigning PFA Player of the Year a phenomenal footballer and possessing a passing range capable of unlocking even Europe’s best defences.
De Bruyne – alongside the likes of Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku – will be confident of success next summer and face Finland, Denmark and Russia in Group B, Roberto Martinez’s squad as strong as any in international football.
Midfield: Bruno Fernandes – Portugal
Joining De Bruyne in our midfield line-up is a player who has starred on the opposite side of the Manchester divide over the past year, Bruno Fernandes emerging as one of the Premier League’s top talents since signing for Manchester United in January.
The arrival of the Portuguese playmaker proved the catalyst behind United’s surge to a top four finish and Champions League qualification last season, his productivity staggering as he provided 15 goals contributions in just 14 fixtures for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Fernandes has started the new season in similar fashion with five goals and three assists for the season so far, his ability to both create and take chances a huge asset to both club and country.
Cristiano Ronaldo may take star billing for Portugal and remains undisputedly his nation’s main man, though Fernandes is part of a more than capable supporting cast who will be hopeful of sealing the Portuguese’s progress from a Group of Death containing both Germany and world champions France.
Forward: Raheem Sterling – England
Raheem Sterling seems destined to reach a century of England caps having been a regular in the national side since making his debut as a teenager, the winger having transferred his encouraging development with Manchester City onto the international stage in recent years.
Sterling’s pace and purpose have made him a vital component of Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions side and his improving goal record has been a welcome addition to his game, the 25-year-old having scored nine goals in his past 11 appearances for England including a first hat-trick against the Czech Republic last year.
His dynamism and ability to carry the ball at speed offer a different dynamic to many of England’s attacking options, Sterling arguably the first name on Southgate’s team sheet after captain Harry Kane.
England have the potential to make an impact next summer if Southgate can deliver a balance between defensive solidity and extracting the most from his attacking talents, Sterling’s influence central to his plans of reaching the latter stages.
Forward: Timo Werner – Germany
Germany stand as perennial contenders in major international tournaments and next summer will be no different, a well-balanced and talented side capable of being crowned champions of Europe.
Joachim Low’s side will be spearheaded by Chelsea forward Timo Werner, who has made an impressive adaptation to English football since arriving from RB Leipzig during the summer.
Werner has scored eight goals in all competitions and has shown his ability to play both centrally and from the left, his work-ethic, speed and clinical finishing seeing him settle quickly at Stamford Bridge.
Werner has scored 15 goals in 35 appearances for Germany and won the tournament’s Golden Boot during their triumphant Confederations Cup success three years ago, the 24-year-old a much-improved player since then and capable of starring next summer.
Forward: Harry Kane – England
The leading scorer in qualification for Euro 2021, Harry Kane stands as England’s greatest hope of ending their 55-year wait for major tournament success next summer.
Kane scored 12 goals in just eight appearances as England qualified in comfortable fashion, whilst he has begun the new season brilliantly for Tottenham to emerge as arguably the Premier League’s Player of the Season so far.
The Tottenham striker has scored seven goals in just eight league appearances for the north London side, in addition to providing a league-leading eight assists, demonstrating a creative quality alongside his notorious goal threat.
Kane has rapidly risen to sixth amongst the Three Lions’ all-time record goalscorers and can boast a World Cup Golden Boot amongst his individual honours, the England captain an irreplaceable figure and the man Gareth Southgate will hope can inspire an underachieving nation to a successful tournament.
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