England squad announced
Gareth Southgate has just named his 33-man provisional squad for the European Championships, which will need to be cut by 1st June to just 26 names.
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) May 25, 2021
This has included call-ups for the likes of Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling, who have both had limited game time this season due to injury and form issues.
Meanwhile there are first call-ups for Ben Godfrey, Ben White, and Sam Johnstone amongst the 33 named, although at least one of them will likely be part of the cull of seven players to meet the Euro squad regulations.
You can read who else the experts think will be victims of this here.
Fantasy Football says different
But what about, just for the sake of argument, the England side was decided by Fantasy football?
Fantasy football rewards output (goals and assists) highly, so in theory the side should be strong going forwards but may lack a little balance.
Obviously, Borussia Dortmund pair Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham would immediately be excluded, as would Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier, falling victim to not playing in the Premier League.
— Fantasy Football Fix (@FantasyFootyFix) May 25, 2021
What is left, however, still raises eyebrows.
Leeds pair Jack Harrison and Patrick Bamford make their way onto the plane, whilst Jamie Vardy’s retirement from international football means that Marcus Rashford takes the striker’s place.
There would also be call-ups for Brighton defender Lewis Dunk and West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell, whilst Trent Alexander Arnold is nailed on for the right-back position.
👏 “I really like Dunk: he can defend, scores & can play with his feet.”
Should Dunk be in the provisional squad announced today? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/LSBCIrQUP3
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) May 25, 2021
What is perhaps the most striking thing about the side is that despite arguably only three of the 11 set to start at the upcoming tournament (Mason Mount, John Stones and Harry Kane), the side is still incredibly strong. Even without high-profile names such as Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, or Luke Shaw, the competition for places remains strong.
This comes across clearly both in fantasy football and in Southgate’s choice to name a 33 man strong squad rather than the traditional 26. It remains to be seen how his choices will fare this summer, but it certainly a solid foundation.