Top 5 England Fringe Players Who Could Make a Difference


By James Capps

After what felt like months of deliberation, England Manager Gareth Southgate finally confirmed his final 26-man squad for Euro 2020 on June 1.

And while there may be no Jesse Lingard in the final party (I’m not crying, you are) there is still a wealth of options at the Southgate’s disposal.

We all know about the finishing prowess of Harry Kane, the fleet-footedness of Marcus Rashford, and the massive head of Harry Maguire, but who amongst the supporting cast could have a big say on things this summer?

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1.  Conor Coady (Wolves)

Center Back, 4 caps (pre-Euro)

The 28-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers defender has a wealth of experience when it comes to playing in a three-man backline.

And in a defensive department that is lacking in leaders, the Wolves skipper adds an extra pinch of passion to the England ranks.

It is clear from Southgate’s selection policy over the last few years that the gaffer prioritises players who are tactically and technically flexible.

So with Coady also being a possible emergency option at the base of midfield, that is sure to count in his favour as we go deep into the tournament.

2.  Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

Left Winger, 4 caps (pre-Euro)

At the age of just 19 the London-born Saka has been a revelation for Arsenal since making his first team debut in November 2018.

And his versatility has seen him become an integral member of Mikel Arteta’s side.

Primarily a left-sided attacker, the Londoner can also operate slickly as an advanced midfielder or even at full-back.

At the same time, his searing pace makes him a potentially potent weapon against tired defences that are sitting deep.

3.  Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)

Forward, 7 caps (pre-Euro)

With 21 goals in all competitions for Everton this season it’s no surprise that the Toffees’ number nine finds himself nicely nestled in Southgate’s Euro 2020 plans.

The 24-year-old is almost certain to be playing second fiddle to captain and leading marksman Harry Kane. But Calvert-Lewin has plenty to offer as an attacking spearhead.

The forward is superb in the air and his hold-up play could be priceless in giving his colleagues respite against sides that are likely to dominate the ball.

4.  Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)

Midfielder, 2 caps (pre-Euro)

He won’t be 18 until the end of June but former Birmingham star Bellingham already made a significant impact in 2020-21, making 29 appearances in his first season at Dortmund.

The experience he’s accumulated during an impressive breakout season in Germany will surely make him a valuable asset to this England side.

The youngster is developing nicely into one of the most promising box-to-box midfielders in world football and is the only player of his type in the Three Lions squad.

In a midfield short on dynamism, could Southgate be saying “Hey Jude” as he looks to his bench for inspiration?

5.  Kalvin Phillips (Leeds)

Midfielder, 7 caps (pre-Euro)

When you talk about the English midfield and attack, the attention goes to those who can create and score goals. However, for this team to tick and work efficiently, someone needs to sit in behind and do the dirty work.

Excellent for Leeds in his first Premier League season, Phillips has shown himself capable of that role in a limited capacity so far. Further exposure at Euro 2020 could well cement his position in the middle of England’s midfield for years to come.

Craig Jones

Craig Jones

US Sports lover and watcher of the EFL, Craig will guide you through the NFL, NHL and English football