“I’d play different in and out of possession” - Rio Ferdinand picks dream England XI for Euro 2024

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Kobbie Mainoo, Rio Ferdinand, Trent Alexander-Arnold (from left to right)
Kobbie Mainoo, Rio Ferdinand, Trent Alexander-Arnold (from left to right)

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has picked his dream England XI for the upcoming Euro 2024 in Germany. The Three Lions open their campaign against Serbia on June 16 in Gelsenkirchen.

Manager Gareth Southgate has announced his 26-man squad for Euro 2024, brimming with youth and experience despite a few notable omissions like Harry Maguire and Jack Grealish.

Explaining how he would line up the England XI at Euro 2024, Ferdinand said on his FIVE YouTube channel (via METRO) about his back-four:

"I’d play different in and out of possession. Out out of possession, I would play a back four when we’re defending.
"So I would go (Kyle) Walker, (John) Stones, (Marc) Guehi and Shaw if he’s fit. And then I would go Declan (Rice) in front. This is when we’re defending, and then I’d have to two No.8s/ No.10s, (Phil) Foden and (Jude) Bellingham."

Explaining how the team would play in possession, the Englishman continued:

"When we’re in possession, we’ll go to a back three: Walker, Guehi and Shaw and Stones would push in as one of the two pivots controlling the game and the two No.8s/ No.10s in front of them will be Foden and Bellingham.
"I want Foden to be more of a linker, and I want Bellingham running on. I don’t want you coming to the ball, keep running on beyond Kane, who is going to come deep as well.

Choosing a midfield trio of Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice just behind an attacking trio of Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka and Aaron Gordon, Ferdinand continued:

"Saka on the right and I’d start Gordon on the left because I want people that cango beyond. I don’t want everyone going to the ball. ‘If Palmer starts in that team that I’ve started there, on the left, that’s another one that wants to come to the ball because he’s great, that’s his game, 'Get me the ball, and I’ll move!'"
"Foden wants to do that, Declan wants to get on the ball, Stones will be in there wanting to get on the ball, Kane wants to get on the ball, Saka wants to come to the ball and then run at people. I need one at least who is going to get on it and run that way [forwards] and that’s why Bellingham needs to do that as well."

Ferdinand concluded that he would have Kobbie Mainoo and Trent Alexander-Arnold come off the bench:

"‘I think Mainoo plays a part in this tournament, but I don’t start him initially, and it’s the same with Trent (Alexander-Arnold). ‘One of those two could almost come in and take a shirt at some point maybe. But that’s the team I would start with."

Slovenia and Denmark are the other teams in the Three Lions' Euro 2024 group.


Ahead of Euro 2024, a look at how England fared at the previous edition

Can England go all the way at Euro 2024?
Can England go all the way at Euro 2024?

England had a fabulous campaign at the previous European Championship three years ago. Gareth Southgate's side scored twice in the group stage without conceding to win the group.

In the knockouts, they beat old foes Germany 2-0 before blitzing four answered goals past Ukraine to storm into the last-four. They conceded their first goal in the finals but beat Denmark 2-1 to book a final date with Italy.

Luke Shaw gave the Three Lions an early lead at the Wembley before Leonardo Bonucci restored parity for the Azzurri midway through the second half. In the ensuing shootout, England led 2-1 after the two spot-kicks, only to miss the next three as their 55-year trophy drought continued.

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