Picking an Under-22s England Lineup That Could Win Euro 2021

Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood
Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford form part of a lethal Manchester United front line | James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

While the disappointment of Euro 2020 being pushed back for another summer is (still) a tough pill to swallow, letting the dust settle on that setback and actually examining the positives makes for good reading as far as England are concerned.

With plenty of the squad that played in the 2018 World Cup now considered as the 'old guard', the Three Lions are set to embark on a new era in their history with a fine set of talent emerging that raises the excitement levels heading into the newly scheduled Euro 2021.

Manchester City's humbling of the Premier League champions on Thursday was a prime example of one particular player's rise, with Phil Foden putting in a magnificent showing - one that very bodes well for England's future midfield.

But it's not just in midfield where fans should be hopeful, with new prospects emerging across all positions that has got English taste buds tingling. I mean, this lot look pretty good, don't they?

In an effort to highlight that optimism, here is a full XI featuring players who all fall under the age of 22, and with Sven-Göran Eriksson nowhere near this new golden generation, there is good reason to be hopeful.

Aaron Ramsdale (GK)

Aaron Ramsdale
Aaron Ramsdale has been one of the few bright sparks in an otherwise dire Bournemouth season | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

We could quite easily have bent the rules slightly to include 23-year-old Dean Henderson, but instead we're sticking to the plan which means that Bournemouth's Aaron Ramsdale gets the nod.

He's yet to appear for the senior England team, but he's featured at every level below that. While the Cherries' Premier League status hangs by a thread, there will be no dearth of interest for Ramsdale should they be relegated, with even the likes of Chelsea claimed to be keeping tabs on his future.

Other Candidates: Brandon Austin

Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB)

Trent Alexander-Arnold
Trent Alexander-Arnold is among Europe's finest right backs already | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

It doesn't really matter how old he is, does it? TAA could be 46 but if he's playing as well as he is right now, then he waltzes into the England team with no questions asked.

No defender has produced more assists in a single Premier League campaign than him, and all the talk of him not being quite there defensively is completely understandable given his age and the fact Liverpool generally don't need to defend much (barring Thursday night).

With nine senior Three Lions outings to date, he's certain to make that role his own for many years to come.

Other Candidates: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Reece James, James Justin

Fikayo Tomori (CB)

Fikayo Tamori
Fikayo Tomori has played 15 times in the Premier League for Chelsea this season | Clive Mason/Getty Images

Following an impressive loan stint at Derby last season, Frank Lampard saw it fit to promote Fikayo Tomori to the Chelsea first team, where he has gone on to make 15 appearances this campaign.

His place in the side has been lost of late, but the early indicators are that 22-year-old has a bright future for both club and country.

Other Candidate: Trevoh Chalobah

Ben Godfrey (CB)

Ben Godfrey
Ben Godfrey's Norwich look likely to be relegated this term | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

York-born Ben Godfrey is likely to be helpless to prevent his Norwich side from falling back into the second tier this season, but given the level of praise he's received and the interest shown in him, he'll likely be staying in the Premier League even if Norwich aren't.

Still has plenty of improving to do, but by joining one of the top half teams his game could certainly go up a level.

Other Candidates: Marc Guehi

Bukayo Saka (LB)

Bukayo Saka
Saka recently signed a new long-term deal with boyhood club Arsenal | Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

The versatile Arsenal man has rose to prominence this season following an injury crisis in north London, with his obvious talent laid bare for all to see quicker than expected when he slotted in at left-back.

Although naturally a forward, Bukayo Saka has shown competence and maturity wherever he's played, and looks certain to be a regular senior international for many years to come.

Other Candidates: Max Aarons

Jude Bellingham (CM)

Jude Bellingham
Jude Bellingham has been the outstanding talent in the Championship this season | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

There were a few contenders to fill this slot but the incredible rise of Jude Bellingham is hard to ignore. Only recently turning 17, the Birmingham man has had European big boys Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund chasing his signature, which gives you a fairly clear indicator of just how good this young man is.

An ever-present for the Blues this season, Bellingham's ceiling is sky high.

Other Candidates: Tom Davies, Oliver Skipp

Declan Rice (CM)

Declan Rice
Declan Rice has been in inspired form since the Premier League returned | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Declan Rice has been praised highly this (and last) season, and rightly so. The defensive-minded midfielder has been impressive in spells, but any bad patches are partly due to West Ham's struggles across all areas this terms.

Still only 21, he's become a regular fixture under Southgate since breaking into the senior England fold, and barring any sudden drop in form, looks set to remain there.

Other Candidates: Morgan Gibbs-White, Joe Willock

Phil Foden (CAM)

Phil Foden
Phil Foden scored during the recent 4-0 win over Liverpool | Visionhaus/Getty Images

We all know how good Phil Foden is. Whether it's the odd appearance here, the occasional start there or a brief cameo here, whenever he plays he stands out from the crowd.

England have been craving a technically gifted, creative and forward thinking midfielder for what feels like an age, and there is absolutely nothing to suggest that isn't a role that the City man will occupy both for the Three Lions and the Cityzens over the next 10-15 years. Some talent.

Other Candidates: Mason Mount, Todd Cantwell, Grady Diangana

Jadon Sancho (RW)

Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United this summer | Lars Baron/Getty Images

What is there left to say about Jadon Sancho that hasn't already been said? The Bundesliga has been torn to shreds over the last two seasons, and you'd be forgiven for thinking the forward was into his eighth or ninth senior campaign given how easy he's made it look.

Already England's starting right-sided forward, you have to be either extremely brave or immensely foolish to consider not keeping him in that spot.

Other Candidates: Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reiss Nelson

Mason Greenwood (ST)

Mason Greenwood
Mason Greenwood is enjoying a superb breakthrough season at Old Trafford | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

In an era of over-hyping players to the point of exhaustion, sometimes that excitement is justified. In the case of Mason Greenwood, it looks absolutely justified.

Only 18 years old, he's already hit 15 goals for United this season, having played in a variety of positions. It's something he's more than capable of doing given how two-footed he is, and truth be told, United and England fans have every right to be excited. Greenwood's senior call-up is inevitable.

Other Candidates: Tammy Abraham, Rhian Brewster, Eddie Nketiah

Marcus Rashford (LW)

Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford has scored 14 goals in 25 Premier League outings this term | Visionhaus/Getty Images

It's remarkable to think that Marcus Rashford is still only 22 years of age, having seemingly been around for what feels like an eternity. But that's just testament to how gifted he is as a footballer and how determined he is to make himself a regular for both club and country.

He seems to have found his groove down the left hand side, which is evident as the 19 goals he's scored in all competitions this season - his finest scoring return to date.

Other Candidates: Harvey Barnes, Dwight McNeil, Ryan Sessegnon

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