England's predicted XI against Croatia - will Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips start Euros opener?

LEEDS United midfielder Kalvin Phillips is predicted to start England's European Championships opener against Croatia alongside Declan Rice in midfield.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 12:58 pm
Updated Friday, 11th June 2021, 12:58 pm

Phillips is part of Gareth Southgate's 26-man squad for the competition which begins on Friday night when Italy face Turkey in Rome.

The Three Lions will then begin their quest for glory with Sunday afternoon's clash against Croatia at Wembley (2pm kick-off) in which Phillips will be hoping to make his major international tournament debut.

The 25-year-old is one of several options in centre midfield for Southgate who also has West Ham star Rice and Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson within his squad.

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IN SAFE HANDS: Leeds United's England international midfielder Kalvin Phillips. Photo by Carl Recine - Pool/Getty Images.

But Henderson has only recently returned from groin surgery and Sky Bet make Phillips 4-5 to start against Croatia whereas Henderson is 3-1.

Rice is rated certain to be in the XI given that the Hammers ace is 1-50 to line up, the same price as Chelsea's Mason Mount who is another centre midfield option but in a more attacking sphere and most likely as a no 10.

Phil Foden is also 1-10 to be in the XI and looks set to start wide in a front three supported by Mount from the no 10 role.

Three Lions captain Harry Kane is 1-50 to lead the line but thereafter the bookies are unsure as to who will complete the forward line out of Raheem Sterling (5-6), Jack Grealish (10-11), Marcus Rashford (evens) or Jadon Sancho (15-8).

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is 14s to start and the versatile Bukayo Saka is 7s.

Seventeen-year-old Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham is another centre midfield option but the teenager is 5-2 to start and the full make up of the defensive picture is unclear.

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire is another player who has been out injured and the Red Devils skipper is 4-1 to be in the XI - the outsider of the Three Lions defensive contingent.

England have lined up with a back four of late and John Stones (1-50) and Kyle Walker (1-20) are rated the only certain starters in defence.

Luke Shaw (1-3) and Tyrone Mings (5-4) are the next shortest in the betting, followed by Kieran Trippier (11-8), Ben Chilwell (6-4), Ben White (13-8), Reece James (13-8) and Conor Coady (5-2).

Jordan Pickford is 1-50 to start in goal whereas Dean Henderson is 12s and Sam Johnstone 33s.

Based on the odds and likely formation, England are fancied to line up with a 4-3-3 but essentially a 4-2-1-3 system of Pickford; Walker, Stones, Mings, Shaw; Phillips, Rice; Mount; Foden, Sterling, Kane.

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Thank you Laura Collins