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Euro 2024: Trent in midfield, Stones’ fitness, and Kane’s record – England talking points ahead of opener

As England's Euro 2024 campaign begins against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen, key topics include Trent Alexander-Arnold's midfield role, John Stones' fitness, and Harry Kane's record-breaking leadership. Fans and football enthusiasts eagerly anticipate how Gareth Southgate's decisions will shape England's performance in this high-stakes opener.

Euro 2024: Trent in midfield, Stones' fitness, and Kane's record - England talking points ahead of opener osf
First Published Jun 15, 2024, 9:48 PM IST

England’s Euro 2024 campaign kicks off as they face Serbia in their Group C opener in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday. After reaching the final of Euro 2020, Gareth Southgate’s squad aims to go one step further this time around. Here, we delve into some of the key talking points ahead of the much-anticipated clash.

Euro 2024’s First “High-Risk” Fixture

German police have labeled this game as a “high-risk” meeting due to reports of Serbian ultras travelling to the region. The Football Association's chief executive, Mark Bullingham, has expressed confidence in the behavior of England fans, while measures have been taken to sell only low-alcohol beer near the Veltins Arena. With England fans attending a major tournament en masse for the first time since 2016, the focus will be on fan behavior as much as the players’ performance on the pitch.

Kane Keeps Breaking Records

Already England’s all-time leading goalscorer, Harry Kane will add another accolade to his collection when he leads the team on Sunday. The Bayern Munich striker will become the first man to captain England at four major tournaments, having also worn the armband at the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and the Euro 2020 final. Kane expressed his pride, stating, “Being England captain and leading the boys out is probably the highest privilege I can have as a player, and I’ll never take that for granted. That feeling is truly one of a kind. It’s an honour to do it for a fourth time.”

Stones Ready to Roll

Manchester City and England defender John Stones has overcome injury and illness to be ready for the opening game. With regular centre-back partner Harry Maguire missing the tournament due to injury, Stones’ availability is crucial for Southgate. Stones was forced off at half-time in the friendly defeat to Iceland and missed training due to sickness in Germany, but he is now set to start in Gelsenkirchen.

Mitro to Make His Mark?

If Stones plays, he and his defensive colleagues will face the challenge of containing former Fulham and Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. Now with Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Hilal, Mitrovic is a proven Premier League threat and Serbia’s record goalscorer with 58 goals in 91 caps.

The Middle Men

Southgate’s biggest dilemma might be choosing a partner for Declan Rice in midfield. Reports suggest Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold has won the battle to start, having transitioned from a full-back role for England over the past year. With recognised midfielders like Conor Gallagher and impressive Manchester United teenager Kobbie Mainoo available, opting for Alexander-Arnold alongside Rice would be a significant decision.

As England prepares to launch their Euro 2024 campaign, the blend of experience, tactical choices, and managing fitness concerns will be pivotal in setting the tone for their journey in the tournament.

Also Read: Ronaldinho boycotts Brazil games, Calling current Squad the 'Worst Team'

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