Euro 2020 is behind us now and whilst England may have come up short at the final hurdle, Southgate’s side dominates our team of the tournament here at WD Sportz. Having produced my team of the week throughout the tournament, some of the writers and social media team voted on their TOTT with the most favoured players making this XI. Here we go…
GK- Jordan Pickford, England
Starting in goal and whilst he was named player of the tournament, Gigi Donnarumma didn’t make the cut for us. Granted he excelled when it mattered most, a.k.a. the two-penalty shootout wins, but him along with Kasper Schmeichel were out-voted by Jordan Pickford. The Everton man made some excellent saves including the denial of Italy’s talisman from the spot Jorginho, and on the most part his distribution was as good as ever. Donnarumma wasn’t great against Spain barring the spot-kicks and Pickford looked lacklustre in the semis versus Denmark but at the same time, the pair were both very strong at times too. It was a close call but England’s number one won out in the end!
LB- Luke Shaw, England
Sticking with Gareth Southgate’s men who of course built on their 2018 World Cup semi-final and went one step further at this tournament. There aren’t many players to have carried over from that squad, one of the new boys on the block being Luke Shaw, which seems odd to say given that he’s not that young in football terms. Italy’s Leonardo Spinazzola looked a shoe-in for LB and maybe even for player of the tournament but an injury in the quarters has seen Shaw, of Man United, come out on top. His tournament peaked when he scored in the final after just two minutes, as did that of England fans everywhere, but in general the way he bombed on past Raheem Sterling was very effective for the Three Lions.
CB- Giorgio Chiellini, Italy
Only one side stood in the way of football coming home and they were captained by the wily veteran that is Giorgio Chiellini. The warrior of a centre-half has been at the heart of defence for Juve and the Azzurri for many years now and he is true to Italy, ageing like a fine wine. His partner in crime Bonucci may take the headlines with his goal in the final as well as a spotless penalty record but on and off of the pitch, Chiellini is far superior. Bonucci’s hiatus to Milan didn’t lead to any decline for the Bianconeri but if it was Chiellini that left, there sure would have been. He is a true leader and a key cog for Roberto Mancini, age is just a number clearly!
CB- Harry Maguire, England
Alongside him is a man whose place at the tournament was in jeopardy for quite a while, but my god did he turn it around. Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson, two of the lynchpins for England, came into the summer with injuries and a lack of playing time but both played their role, and for Maguire it was a significant one. Tyrone Mings deputised well but Maguire again continued to silence the doubters that love to joke about his price-tag, one that he has completely justified in 2021. His aerial ability and willingness to drive out from defence has stood out in particular during this tournament!
RB- Joakim Maehle, Denmark
There were two candidates for right back but all received a similar amount of love; the players in question being Kyle Walker and Denzel Dumfries, thus Joakim Maehle has been brought across to play slightly out of position after closely losing out to Luke Shaw. From Schmeichel, to Damsgaard, Hojbjerg to Dolberg, there were plenty of Danes who could have featured following their heart-warming success, but Atalanta’s Maehle is the solitary representive. He, like Shaw, drove so well down the flank and was a constant threat for defenders, his tournament peak being that outside of the boot assist for Nice’s Kasper Dolberg.
CM- Kalvin Phillips, England
Back to the Three Lions though and one of the surprise/breakout players of the tournament has to be Kalvin Phillips. The majority of fans were very against the Leeds man starting in midfield but he swiftly got the doubters on side, his assist for the only goal versus Croatia, scored by Sterling, being the catalyst of this. Moving forward it wasn’t surprising that he wasn’t known for his attacking output but his energy and intensify was truly mind-blowing, whilst players around him were struggling in the latter stages he was still pressing as usual, an obvious bi-product of Bielsa’s Leeds.
CM- Jorginho, Italy
Onto another Premier League player and it is the supposed Ballon d’Or contender Jorginho. Having won the Champions League with Chelsea, it was said that if Italy went all the way in the Euros that the midfielder could well win the prestigious award that is often dominated by Messi and Ronaldo. As ludicrous as this is given that he is nowhere near being the best midfielder at his club let alone the best player on the planet, he did have a good tournament. The middle of the park for Mancini was just great through-and-through, Verratti, Barella and Jorginho all performing to high level, but it is the latter that has edged our vote.
CM- Pedri, Spain
There weren’t many unanimous players to be ushered into this XI but Spain’s young superstar Pedri couldn’t not feature! He was head and shoulders above anyone else in the race to win the young player of the tournament and although Spain were unable to get past the semis, he was the true shining light. His maturity and reading on the game sees him play well beyond his years, he may not be a La Masia graduate but he is definitely a Barcelona player. His passing and general work with the ball will see him play on the highest stage for many years to come, even when you consider the calamitous situation that the Blaugrana are currently enduring.
LW- Raheem Sterling, England
Up into the frontline then and along with Pedri, Raheem Sterling was the only player to be selected by everyone involved for this team of the tournament! The Man City wide-man may have had a season that doesn’t quite reach his usual standard but he really hit back this summer, repaying Southgate’s faith ten-fold and then some. When Kane was yet to get going properly, Sterling came to the fore his country and he lived out his dream, the boy from Brent did what he does best. Bias may come into account here but I personally think that Sterling was far better than Donnarumma at this tournament, just because the Italian shot-stopper won the tournament doesn’t mean he was in any way better than Raheem.
RW- Federico Chiesa, Italy
Penultimately, another finalist joins Sterling on the flanks and it is Federico Chiesa of Juventus. Sassuolo’s Domenico Berardi started the tournament ahead of Chiesa in the pecking order but he made a huge impact off the bench, delivering also when he got the chance to run-out from the start. Chiesa curled home beyond Unai Simon in the quarter finals and he also was introduced in the late stages versus Austria, getting the extra-time scoring underway. Chiesa has been a big game player for the Bianconeri this season and although Ronaldo is the dominant presence at club level, he has continued this sort of rallying hero into the famous blue Azzurri shirt.
ST- Patrick Schick
The final player, the man to lead the line, is the only man who didn’t make it into the final four. A dominant header followed by a sweeping effort from near enough the half-line announced Patrick Schick to the rest of the tournament and its’ fans, none more so than the Scots of course. Schick finished the Euros as joint-top scorer with the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo and has earnt himself a spot. The striker had everything operate in and around him for the Czech Republic as they made their way out of the group, then knocking off the high-flying Dutch in the first knockout round.
As previously mentioned, there were a lot of votes for various players and so of course some had to miss out! Click here to read about our thoughts on the official team of the tournament, but here are our honourable mentions for the time being. Starting with the winners Italy and there is of course Donnarumma and Spinazzola as well as PSG’s Marco Verratti, meanwhile Walker, Harry Kane and John Stones were amongst the Englishmen to miss out. Elsewhere; Schmeichel, Damsgaard and Hojbjerg of Denmark, Romelu Lukaku, Cristiano Ronaldo, Denzel Dumfries and Emil Forsberg. What do you think of our team? Who did we miss? Let us know!