ENGLAND get their Euro 2024 campaign underway tomorrow night with a Group C clash against Serbia.

The main selection issue for manager Gareth Southgate is whether to pick John Stones, with the centre back returning to training this week following illness.

Stones isolated in his hotel room on Wednesday, while there are also concerns surrounding the Manchester City defender, who was not a regular starter for his club at the end of the season.

I’ve picked the England side, in a 4-3-3 formation, that I would go for in the Three Lions’ Euro 2024 opener.

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Jordan Pickford has been England’s first choice goalkeeper at the last three major tournaments, and will almost certainly remain the number one ahead of Dean Henderson and Aaron Ramsdale.

Everton goalkeeper Jordan PickfordEverton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (Image: Mike Egerton/ PA Wire)


Natural options at full back are limited, with Luke Shaw, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker all in contention, and Trent Alexander-Arnold expected to play in midfield this summer.

Shaw hasn’t played since a 2-1 win for Manchester United at Luton Town in February, when he picked up a hamstring injury.

He surely won’t be risked from the off, therefore Trippier at left back, with Walker on the right, appears the most sensible solution.

Despite the concerns surrounding Stones, he is the senior centre half in the England camp, without the injured Harry Maguire, so for me, he plays alongside Marc Guehi at the heart of the Three Lions defence.

Guehi pips Joe Gomez and Ezri Konsa, who offer more flexibility in the full back area, and are therefore better options from the bench if required.

Man City centre back John StonesMan City centre back John Stones (Image: Adam Davy/ PA Wire)


Choices aplenty here, but I’ve opted for a combination of Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden.

Rice and Bellingham can partner up as the two deeper midfield players, although Bellingham would absolutely have the licence to get further forward and support the attack.

Much has been made about where to play Foden, who has excelled for Man City in the No 10 position this season.

With Rice and Bellingham just behind him, that’s exactly where I’d play Foden, as realistically, England should be on the front foot and taking the game to Serbia.

I really enjoy Alexander-Arnold in the midfield role, and he provides something with his wonderful crossing and passing range that not many players can replicate, so he and Kobbie Mainoo would provide quality from the bench.

Phil Foden on the ball for EnglandPhil Foden on the ball for England (Image: Bradley Collyer/ PA Wire)


Harry Kane of course leads the line, while there are exciting options to play either side of him. Bukayo Saka has plenty of tournament experience, especially for someone so young, and his place on the right-hand side should be assured.

On the left, I’d choose Cole Palmer, who has been outstanding for Chelsea this season. Although he’s played primarily as the No 10 for the Blues, he’s left-footed and has enough experience of playing out wide, as well as centrally.

There is also an element of flexibility with the attack, as Foden and Palmer are both interchangeable if things aren’t going quite to plan, and something different is needed without the use of a substitute.

Cole Palmer gets forward for EnglandCole Palmer gets forward for England (Image: Bradley Collyer/ PA Wire)

Oxford Mail sports reporter Liam Rice’s England starting XIOxford Mail sports reporter Liam Rice’s England starting XI (Image: BBC Sport)