England look set to complete what has been a straightforward qualifying campaign for the 2020 UEFA European Championships. Victory against the Czech Republic will see England qualify with only five games played. The qualification process has been relatively easy so far, with England having won all four of their games. This sees them three points ahead of the Czech Republic despite having played a game less due to their Nations League commitments. England previously beat the Czech Republic during this qualifying campaign. One player who won’t be playing, however, is James Maddison as he has withdrawn from the squad due to illness.
James Maddison to Miss Potential England Qualification
James Maddison Withdraws From England Squad
James Maddison is clearly one of the most talented players in this England squad, though his wait for a senior international debut goes on. Despite being called up to the squad since last season, he is yet to make an appearance, with Gareth Southgate favouring other players. He has withdrawn from the England squad through illness, and will thus miss out again.
However, this is not too big of an issue for Southgate. The England squad still contains great depth in midfield and should realistically still prove too much for the Czech Republic. The form of Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount has been impressive this season so both will be hoping for a start. Declan Rice and Ross Barkley will also be hoping for a berth in the midfield.
Options in Attack
The Premier League’s joint-top goalscorer, Tammy Abraham, will be hoping to appear for England again after significant time out of the squad, though as with many talented England strikers before him, this is complicated by the talent of Harry Kane. It seems unlikely that Southgate will drop his captain while qualification is yet to be secured.
The form and talent of wingers Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho should also see them start, meaning that Abraham will have to wait for his return. Callum Wilson and Marcus Rashford are also realistic options for the attack, though it is hard to see past the trio of Kane, Sterling and Sancho.
A Defensive Debut?
The England squad has a youthful vibe to it at the moment and another player who will be hoping for his England debut is Fikayo Tomori. He has become one of the first-choice centre-backs for Chelsea and will hope to partner Harry Maguire in the centre of defence. Joe Gomez will also be hoping for a start, though his lack of game time at Liverpool could see him leapfrogged for the starting position this time around.
Ben Chilwell is expected to start at left-back while there is a battle between Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold for the starting right-back slot. Jordan Pickford should continue in goal, with other goalkeepers Tom Heaton and Dean Henderson serving as back up rather than competition.
Predicted XI: Jordan Pickford; Ben Chilwell, Harry Maguire, Fikayo Tomori, Trent Alexander-Arnold; Jordan Henderson, Mason Mount, Declan Rice; Jadon Sancho, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling