The Three Lions go into the European Championships with a number of new faces who did not feature in England’s World Cup squad Russia, with the likes of Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka just three making their major tournament debut.
Manager Gareth Southgate has a star-studded attack to choose from, with a healthy mix of young talent and experienced pro’s to call upon as England look to win their first major honour since 1966.
However, Southgate has a selection headache at both ends of the pitch.
He can’t play every single top-tier attacker at his disposal, whilst question marks over the fitness of Harry Maguire have led to defensive concerns.
Former England star Michael Owen knows all about what is expected of the Three Lions at a major tournament, having represented his country at three World Cups and two European Championships, as well as being the only player to have scored in four consecutive major tournaments for England.
The ex-Liverpool forward spoke about England’s chances as new research commissioned by Booking.com, the official Accommodation and Attractions Booking Partner of UEFA EURO 2020™, found that fans are more friends than rivals, as over three quarters (77%) of England fans say that watching in stadia alongside rival fans is the best part of live football.
Owen explained where he thinks England’s problems lie with some fears over the defence.
But he advised Southgate not to revert back to a back-five system which has worked well in the past, instead encouraging him to play on the front foot to avoid an underwhelming summer.
“I think it’s a worry, I’m not convinced by what’s going on at the back centre-half wise, it’s not our strong point at the moment,” Owen said.
“I think over the years I’ve always been keen on England going with a back three, I think we have suited it.
“If you go with a back three you’ve got three defenders, two wing-backs which is another two defensive players, then you’ve got the goalkeeper that’s six (defensive players) then you’ve got a sitting midfielder that’s seven, our strength is in attacking positions and if you go with a back three you can only have four attacking players.
“I know it’s an English mentality and I know we always say it but I would like us to play on the front foot, if we are scared of our defence – don’t put an extra defender on the pitch, I would go with a back four and get an extra-attacker in.”
Southgate has some of the best attackers in European football at his disposal and will see the Euros as a great chance to better England’s 2018 World Cup showing.