Euro 2020: England Report Cards

England

For a little while, it looked like England would bring it home.

The song, sung largely in jest as a little light-hearted fun but with the hope that it would ring true, looked like it might finally be accurate.

England marched their way onto the final and to the Italians. Despite a Luke Shaw effort early on, Leonardo Bonucci dragged his side back into the game and it was penalty shoot-out heartbreak for the Three Lions again.

However, the players can be proud of the effort they put in and they took the national side to one of their greatest achievements in living memory. With the tournament now done and dusted, we take a look at each player in the squad (that featured) and give them a report card on their showings.

England Report Cards From Euro 2020

Jordan Pickford – A

It really is quite hard to fault any of Jordan Pickford’s efforts during the Euros.

There were questions raised when he was initially chosen to start as number one. However, he was quick to dispel any murmurs that he might be the wrong selection by keeping clean sheets all the way up until the semi-final game against Denmark. He was strong and commanding and kept England in their games at times with some superb saves. He also impressed in the penalty shoot-out loss and was unfortunate to end up on the losing side.

Kyle Walker – B+

Kyle Walker took a little while to grow into the competition, but when he did, he was one of the side’s best performers.

His pace allowed him to quickly get back and defend when needed and some of his runs and passes were vital in leading England into another attack. He proved why he remains one of the most trusted defenders for his national side.

Harry Maguire – A-

The affectionately named ‘Slabhead’ proved why so many England fans love him again. After coming back into the side, he was a rock at the heart of the defence and even chipped in with a goal in the side’s victory over Ukraine to help seal their passage into the next round. He was always a threat from set-pieces – which is exactly what the national side want – and was a large part of the reason England conceded so little. Really proved himself on a big stage again.

John Stones – A-

Like his centre-back partner, Stones too excelled when it mattered. It really was the defence that helped win games at this tournament and the Manchester City man was tremendous. With his play out from the back and his ability to keep opposition attacks at bay, he deserved plenty of credit for helping England get to the final. One of the most important players again.

Luke Shaw – A

What an incredible showing from Luke Shaw. 

With impeccable work done both defensively and offensively, he was a vital cog in the England machine. He bagged the goal in the final that gave the nation hope and he also played an important part in both goals against Germany and was key against Denmark. In the big games, he proved he could handle the pressure.

Declan Rice – B+

It says a lot that a B+ might be slightly harsh on Rice. The midfielder did have some quiet spells in earlier games but he was largely another standout performer.

The West Ham United midfielder looked like one of the better players in the final against Italy and was a calming presence in the middle of the field throughout the tournament. His work alongside Kalvin Phillips was also important to England’s game. He looked like a leading holding midfielder – and there’s no doubt there will be teams after him this summer because of it.

Kalvin Phillips – B+

A breakout tournament for Phillips, who proved that you don’t have to have been Premier League established for years and years to shine on a major international stage.

He was literally everywhere – chasing every ball, pressuring every opposition player and determined to put a foot in wherever he could. He’s made that midfield spot his own and it would be hard to drop him going forward considering the tireless work that he puts in.

Mason Mount – C+

It’s maybe harsh to give Mount such a low rating considering his age but maybe it’s because the expectations were high due to how well he has played over the last year or so. That isn’t to say he was absent, as he played his part in several important moves and regularly tried to link play but he just didn’t have as much of an impact as he would have liked.

Raheem Sterling – A

Any questions over whether Sterling deserved to carry on starting games for England after some early performances have been answered – and it turns out Southgate was right all along.

In the knockout stages, he cut through defences like a knife through butter. It was his work that won the penalty against Denmark and his dribbling and finishing that led to England creating so many opportunities and scoring the goals that we did. A definite contender for Player of the Tournament.

Harry Kane – B-

Is it harsh on Harry Kane for him to scrape a B? Considering his goalscoring, maybe, but the striker was certainly not at his best this tournament.

Kane looked quiet throughout the group stage and only bagged his first goal of the tournament in the knockout game against Germany. He showed that he could finish and get his side in front when it mattered but his overall game just wasn’t as polished as normal.

Phil Foden – C+

Foden is another player who many believed would shine at the Euros for England only to have a relatively quiet competition.

He was given his chance early on and showed exactly what he was capable of by weaving through a defence and crashing a shot against the post. However, he was largely unchosen in the latter stages of the tournament. With him continuing to impress for Manchester City, it’s likely he will get his chance again in future tournaments.

Jude Bellingham – B-

Despite being just 18-years old, Bellingham proved why he is being chosen for his national side so early on.

He was calm on the ball, could pick out a pass with exquisite vision and worked tirelessly to break up attacks. The future is bright with Bellingham – the only issue is Phillips and Rice did so well that they couldn’t be stifled in the middle of the field.

Tyrone Mings – B

One of England’s better defenders in the group stage games, he showed that he could do it all in terms of tackling and putting a halt to other sides’ attacks but also playing out from the back and getting the ball to the feet of the more creative players.

Kieran Trippier – B+

Included for his set-pieces and his ability to get forward well and bombard the wings, Trippier did that plenty when given the chance to. He’s come on leaps and bounds for his national side and his move to Atletico Madrid.

Jadon Sancho – B-

He didn’t get as much game time as a lot of England fans wanted him to, but when given the opportunity, Sancho did look superb.

Although it was mostly a tournament spent on the sidelines, he, like Bellingham, proved why English talent in the Bundesliga deserves a go in the national side.

Jordan Henderson – C

A tournament unlike one you would expect from the Champions League and Premier League winner, Henderson looked a bit off it when he did manage to get on the pitch.

Although he came on and impressed, bagging a goal during his stint against Ukraine, when he took to the pitch again he looked off it despite being one of the more level-headed and experienced people on the pitch.

Jack Grealish – B-

Another player who didn’t get the playing time that many fans demanded, Grealish will hope he gets another crack at making his mark on an international tournament in the future.

The only reason he gets a low grade is due to his lack of game time, which ultimately affected the amount of impact he made.

Marcus Rashford – C

Another player who didn’t feature too regularly, so it’s hard to give him an accurate grade.

Rashford is capable of brilliance, he just didn’t get much chance to show it. When he had the ball he looked decent enough – he just didn’t have it that often.

Bukayo Saka – B+

All credit to Saka, who had an unbelievable tournament for a man of his age and even stepped up to take one of the most pressurised and important penalties anyone in an England shirt will ever take.

He looked like one of England’s most exciting players. When others preferred a safer option, he was unafraid to try and create something going forward. Chin up to him on the missed penalty too – not many would have had the bottle to step up and take it and it showed heart for him to do so. 

 

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