Home BETTING TIPS Is England’s depleted defence strong enough to win Euro 2024?

Is England’s depleted defence strong enough to win Euro 2024?



It could be strongly argued that three of the best four players at Euro 2024 will be English. Indeed, Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and Harry Kane are all proven at the elite level for club and country and could use this summer’s tournament in Germany to stake their claim as a potential Ballon d’Or winner.

England have never had so much attacking talent at one time. Bukayo Saka is another forward player with the ability to decide a match at any moment. Then there’s Cole Palmer who was one of the best attacking players in the Premier League this season despite Chelsea enduring a challenging campaign.

It’s a different story at the back, though. Compared to the rest of the squad, England’s defence is weak – and depleted. Two of Gareth Southgate’s first-choice back four are currently struggling for fitness with Luke Shaw and John Stones still recovering from injury. England can’t count on either player to be key figures at Euro 2024.

This could mean that Ezri Konsa or Kieran Trippier could start at left back against Serbia this weekend with neither player natural in that position. In central defence, Marc Guehi could be favoured after Harry Maguire was sent home due to injury with Brighton’s Lewis Dunk another option. England’s Euro 2024 squad is top-heavy.

Compare England’s defensive ranks to France’s. They are the two favourites to win Euro 2024, but Les Blues have so much depth at the back it’s possible William Saliba will start the majority of their matches this summer on the bench. England might have greater attacking talent than France, even accounting for Kylian Mbappe, but Didier Deschamps has a more even spread of quality within his squad.

To have any chance of winning Euro 2024, England need Declan Rice to be in top form. The Arsenal midfielder is now considered one of the best in the world in his position, but this summer could present the biggest test of his career to date with the Three Lions reliant on him to hold things together in the centre of the pitch with England’s defence under strength.

Adam Wharton is another central midfielder who could help mask some of England’s defensive deficiencies. Manchester United’s Kobbie Mainoo is a candidate to start alongside Rice in the middle of the pitch, but Wharton might offer more in the way of structure and security due to his superior defensive instincts in front of the back four.

Southgate’s challenge this summer will be to find a structure and approach that makes the most of England’s attacking quality while also masking their vulnerability at the back. If the Three Lions lean too much into playing on the front-foot in the final third, that could leave them open to opposition counter-attacks at the other end of the pitch.

“There’s some disappointment today but there’ll be a lot of excitement about players we’ve selected and to see some of the players who mean we’ve got a different look about us in terms of how we play,” said Southgate when asked about his interesting squad selection for Euro 2024 and some of the players who will now watch the tournament from home after being omitted.

As per his own comments, Southgate has hinted at the adoption of a different approach for Euro 2024. In the past, the England manager was criticised for limiting the Three Lions as an attacking outfit. This summer, he might have no choice but to take the handbrake off and rely on his team’s quality in the attacking third. If defences win titles, though, England might be in trouble.