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Lescott: Who I'd pick to help England win Euro 2024
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Joleon Lescott
Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford will hope to shine for England this summer
Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford will hope to shine for England this summer

England are back in action this week and I can't help but feel hugely optimistic when looking at Gareth Southgate's latest squad.

Firstly, I was buzzing to see Anthony Gordon and Jarrad Branthwaite receive their first senior call-ups for the clashes with Brazil and Belgium.

I spoke to Anthony after the news broke to wish him all the best and tell him how much he deserved it.

You could argue he's been as consistent as anyone in his position this season — and producing the goods regularly is what gets you recognised at international level.

Jarrad was probably a little more fortunate due to some regular faces suffering with injury but he's earned that chance to impress.

He's shown at Everton he has the quality to be a modern-day defender and can also put his body on the line when needed.

Strength in depth

I suppose if there was one area of concern, you'd say it would be our defence — but that's only because of injuries.

Jarrad and Levi Colwill are lacking senior international experience, though there's no doubting their quality and I'm sure they could step up if needed.

Getting Marc Guehi back fit would be a huge plus for me as the Crystal Palace man is someone I rate extremely highly.

Further forward, this month looks the perfect time to unleash a midfield three of Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice and Phil Foden.

All three are excelling at club level and talk of needing to tweak things tactically to accommodate them is probably blown out of proportion.

They're extremely intelligent footballers and they will figure things out between them.

Declan probably has to take up a slightly deeper role, which we know he can do, and you'd expect Phil to be the furthest forward most of the time.

But equally, if he has to fill in as a No6 to let Jude or Declan bomb forward, we know he can do that — he's so versatile.

Ollie Watkins looks set to be England's back-up striker
Ollie Watkins looks set to be England's back-up striker

Up front, Ollie Watkins and Ivan Toney know they are playing second fiddle to Harry Kane but they still need to show they can impact games at international level.

There will inevitably be matches in a tournament where you need your subs to tilt a game in your favour. And as a player, that all comes down to having the right mindset.

Who gets the nod?

If everyone was fit and available, I think our starting XI largely picks itself.

I'd have Jordan Pickford in goal and a back four of Kyle Walker, John Stones, Guehi and Luke Shaw in front of him.

The selection of Marc may surprise some but he raises his game to the level of the opposition every time I watch him.

You probably don't realise how good he is until he faces elite players!

Joleon Lescott believes Marc Guehi should start for England if fit
Joleon Lescott believes Marc Guehi should start for England if fit

As mentioned, I'd go for a midfield three of Declan, Jude and Phil, with Harry as our central striker.

Bukayo Saka would start on the right for me, then the left flank would be a toss-up between Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish.

In terms of the wider squad, James Trafford would be my third-choice goalkeeper to give him some senior tournament experience with one eye on the future.

If everyone's fit, my additional defenders would be Harry Maguire, Colwill and the versatile Liverpool pair of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez.

Jordan Henderson's experience is a must in that changing room, while James Maddison and Cole Palmer are great options to introduce from the bench.

My final two attacking additions would probably be Watkins and Jarrod Bowen, though I think Gordon has a chance to seize a spot.

Put it this way, I'm pleased it's Gareth deciding and not me!

Joleon Lescott's England squad for Euro 2024

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal), James Trafford (Burnley).

Defenders: Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), John Stones (Manchester City), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Levi Colwill (Chelsea), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Joe Gomez (Liverpool).

Midfielders: Declan Rice (Arsenal), Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jordan Henderson (Ajax), James Maddison (Tottenham), Cole Palmer (Chelsea).

Forwards: Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jack Grealish (Manchester City).

Joleon Lescott was speaking to Matthew Hill


EnglandJoleon LescottEuropean Championship
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