Euro 2020: Which players should be England’s attacking options this summer?

England forwards: Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho, Mason Mount

Gareth Southgate appears to have a real selection headache for Euro 2020.

England boast a wealth of attacking options for the tournament this summer and while Harry Kane looks set to be the main man, around him there is a mix of seasoned performers and exciting youngsters to choose from.

We asked you to rank the seven options below – and former Manchester City and England defender Micah Richards and former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton also debated the possibilities on BBC Radio 5 live’s Monday Night Club.

Read on to see the results from your lists, in reverse order, plus the thoughts of Richards and Sutton.

You can still make your own list below, but it will not count towards the result.

‘I don’t understand why Grealish is not number one’

Former defender Richards, a Premier League and FA Cup winner with Manchester City, believes Grealish’s creativity makes him one of the first names on the teamsheet alongside Kane, with Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford battling it out for a place on the other side of a front three.

“If you did a little bit of homework, Southgate has said he is picking people on form,” he said.

“If you look at the stats, Grealish has played 22 games, and his ‘chances created’ is nearly more than double anyone else. I don’t understand why Grealish is not number one on the list.

“Villa without him are a good team but with him they are exceptional. He is a player for the way England need to play – not afraid to get on the ball, can get out of tight situations. He doesn’t shy away from any pressure.

“You need Grealish to help Kane get the goals. He plays on the left of a three for England.

“Rashford is top quality but I believe you are losing something if Grealish doesn’t play on the left. I would rotate Rashford and Sterling on the right.

“Sterling has been good, he has not been exceptional this season. I would go Sterling (on the right) just because of his runs in behind. He has played in that position probably more often than most.”

‘I don’t believe there is a place for Grealish in a 3-4-3’

Sutton, a Premier League winner with Blackburn, favours a more pragmatic and familiar Three Lions line-up, with Sterling and Rashford playing either side of Kane.

“The players who will complement Kane best are Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford. They are players who have to move beyond Harry Kane and he’s such a wonderful link man,” said Sutton.

“I understand there are different types of player, the likes of Grealish and Maddison are totally different. Gareth Southgate is in a great position but of course he can bring players off the bench too.

“If it is a 3-4-3 formation – it’s a lovely headache for Southgate to have – but if you’re playing more counter attack, then pace is key. Harry is the link man, he can play as a 10 and a nine and if you have Rashford and Sterling you have the pace up front.

“I think Mount, out of possession, Gareth trusts him more and I think that’s the issue between Mount and Grealish.

“The better teams he will go 3-4-3 and the best balance is Sterling and Rashford. I don’t believe there is a place for Grealish in a 3-4-3. I believe they’re a much better threat and will get more out of Kane.”

Rory Smith, chief soccer correspondent at the New York Times, can see situations where Grealish could come into the side.

“If you’re playing 4-3-3 you play Jordan Henderson, Mount because he’s the most versatile and then it would be horses for courses – against teams who sit in you would play Grealish, but if you’re playing Spain or France you maybe need Declan Rice or Kalvin Phillips for that security.”

The seven – a quick look

Player Games Goals per game Assists per game Goals + assists per game Chances created per game
Foden 22 0.27 0.23 0.5 1.41
Grealish 22 0.27 0.45 0.73 3.41
Maddison 23 0.35 0.22 0.57 1.83
Mount 28 0.18 0.11 0.29 2.46
Rashford 29 0.31 0.24 0.55 1.17
Sancho 21 0.29 0.43 0.71 2.76
Sterling 25 0.36 0.2 0.56 1.28
All stats from league games this season

The result – in reverse order

7. James Maddison (Leicester City)

England caps: 1

James Maddison

James Maddison’s start to the season was disrupted by a hip injury but despite that he has been a hugely influential player for Leicester in their push to secure a top-four finish.

He has been involved in 13 goals (eight goals and five assists) and created 42 chances in 23 games for the Foxes in the Premier League this term.

6. Mason Mount (Chelsea)

England caps: 13

Mason Mount

Gareth Southgate had to defend his selection of Mason Mount back in October but the Chelsea man is showing why Southgate, Frank Lampard and now new Blues boss Thomas Tuchel rate him so highly.

His raw numbers come out lower than his rivals, with his eight Premier League goal involvements the lowest of the seven players, but he might be able to point to some sloppy finishing by his team-mates for that, as Mount is second only to Jack Grealish in terms of the opportunities he has created (68).

5. Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)

England caps: 18

Jadon Sancho

Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho had an incredible season in the Bundesliga last season as he finished with 17 goals and 16 assists.

He has not quite been able to replicate that form so far this term, with Dortmund struggling overall, but with six goals and nine assists in 21 games in the Bundesliga he has still been a standout player for the German side. His involvement in 15 goals for Dortmund still ranks among the best compared with the players on this list, as does his average of 2.76 chances created per game, second only to Grealish.

4. Phil Foden (Manchester City)

England caps: 3

Phil Foden

Phil Foden has played the fewest number of Premier League minutes this season out of all of England’s potential attacking options but that does not mean he has contributed the least – far from it.

He has six goals and five assists for Manchester City this season and also boasts the best passing accuracy (87.52%).

3. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

England caps: 40

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford may have been doing very good things off the pitch over the last year but he also continues to provide an important contribution to a Manchester United side that are sitting second in the Premier League.

While his nine Premier League goals this season is the highest on the list, the forward may not have been quite as prolific as he was in the 2019-20 season, when he hit 17 goals. Rashford has 11 goals in 40 appearances for England.

2. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)

England caps: 5

Jack Grealish

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has earned plenty of plaudits this season and deservedly so. He is a big player for Villa and it is of little coincidence that, during the midfielder’s absence with a leg injury, the Midlands club have won just one of their last seven games.

None of England’s other attacking options have created as many chances in the Premier League as Grealish has (75). He has been involved in 16 goals (six goals and 10 assists) for Villa this season, contributing towards 0.73 goals per game, the highest of all the players on our shortlist.

1. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

England caps: 58

Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling is an excellent all rounder. Of the options listed here, he has attempted the most number of dribbles (111), has the second-best passing accuracy (86.07%) and has been involved in 14 goals (nine goals and five assists) for Manchester City this season.

Pep Guardiola has rotated his side often to deal with the congested fixture list but Sterling is one of the players to still feature regularly, having made 25 appearances for the side who are storming their way to the Premier League title.

Honourable mentions

Bukayo Saka, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Tammy Abraham, Harvey Barnes, Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli, Ross Barkley, Ollie Watkins and Patrick Bamford are among those who just missed out on our seven-man shortlist of who could start for Southgate.

Richards: “I would take Bamford. I believe he offers something different. He holds the line up really well, Calvert-Lewin does it well too.

“For me Bamford is one of the most under-rated strikers in the Premier League. I just thought he would have got his chance for the upcoming internationals. I have watched his game very closely and I think he suits international football.”

Feel passionately one of them will start at the Euros? Use the comments at the bottom of the page to tell us (or go here if you are using the app).

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