Who Are England’s Key Players Heading in this UEFA Euro 2024?

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Excited for UEFA Euro 2024? As we approach this key challenge, the anticipation is palpable. The Three Lions are gearing up for another campaign, and the squad is teeming with talent. And their stacked starting eleven has made the bookies sit up and take notice.

If you’re wondering how this shakes out, let’s explore. The latest soccer odds currently make England the +350 favorites for Glory in Germany this summer. That may come as somewhat of a surprise considering the fact that they have been without a major international success since 1966 – not a short space of time by anyone’s calculation! In addition, they were knocked out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup by France at the quarterfinal stage, but even so, Les Bleus still find themselves behind their English rivals in the betting charts, priced as +400 second favorites.

However, there is one key reason why Gareth Southgate’s side are the favorites. They have the best starting lineup of anyone at Euro 2024. But who are their key players ahead of the tournament?

Harry Kane

Bayern Munich hitman Harry Kane has been England’s talisman for years, and his importance to the team cannot be overstated – even if you try. Heading into Euro 2024, the skipper boasts a place as his country’s leading all-time top scorer, with 63 goals in 91 appearances. Since 2018, he has been the Three Lions’ captain, and his leadership qualities will be imperative if he is to become just the second Englishman in history, after Bobby Moore, to lift an international trophy.

The former Spurs striker’s versatility is one of his standout attributes. He can act as a traditional number nine, leading the line and poaching goals, but he’s equally adept at dropping deep to link play and create opportunities for his teammates. His composure is usually unrivaled and he is normally as reliable as anybody in front of the goal, but that penalty miss against France in Qatar will certainly still linger, and he will be determined to leave that memory firmly in the rearview mirror by leading his country to glory this summer.

Jude Bellingham

At just 20 years old, Jude Bellingham has already cemented himself as one of Europe’s most promising midfielders. His meteoric rise from Birmingham City to Borussia Dortmund and now Real Madrid showcases his immense talent, but it is his incredible maturity and attitude that continues to catch the eye. The former Blues youngster is wise beyond his years, often showing for the ball even when the pressure is on, and always standing up to be counted when his club and country need him the most.

He was the star of the show at the Bernabeu last season, as Los Blancos claimed a La Liga and UEFA Champions League double. Bellingham bagged a whopping 23 goals in all competitions last season from attacking midfield – the most in his fledgling career – and he will be out to add to that in Germany. His ability to drive forward with the ball and break through opposition lines adds dynamism to England’s play, while his newfound finishing and long-range shooting are further additions to the Three Lions’ arsenal.

John Stones

While much of the focus is often on England’s attacking prowess, their defensive solidity is equally critical. This summer, there is plenty of pressure on the likes of Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, and Jordan Pickford to ensure that the backline is watertight. But there is perhaps no more pressure on anyone than on the broad shoulders of John Stones.

The Manchester City defender has been a crucial presence for his country for several years now, but this summer, he will have to be at his very best. That’s because he heads to a major tournament without his defensive partner Harry Maguire for the first time. The pair have started alongside each other at both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, as well as at Euro 2020. However, an injury to the Manchester United man means that he will miss the Euros this summer, and Stones is England’s only senior central defender.

He will have to show his leadership skills like never before as he welcomes an inexperienced partner to the starting eleven. Whether that is Brighton captain Lewis Dunk, Crystal Palace man Marc Guehi, Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa, or Liverpool’s Joe Gomez remains to be seen. There is an argument for all four players and there isn’t one that stands out amongst the rest, with Dunk maybe being preferred as he has more experience and is seen as a more imposing presence than the other contenders in the squad.

Stones’ ball-playing ability sets him apart from traditional center-backs. His calmness in possession and accurate distribution allow England to build from the back and maintain control. Defensively, the former Everton man is strong in the air and adept at reading the game, making crucial interceptions and tackles. His experience in high-stakes matches, both domestically and internationally, brings invaluable leadership to the squad and that will need to be on full display this summer.

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