Euro 2024: Who starts England’s opener – do you agree with our pundits?

Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane and Declan Rice
Who would you pick to start for England at Euro 2024?

Next stop Euro 2024.

The next squad England boss Gareth Southgate will be picking is his selection for Germany, so who makes his starting XI for the Three Lions’ opener against Serbia on 16 June?

There are no more friendlies left but, with the domestic season entering its finale, there are plenty of players still with points to prove.

We asked former England and Blackburn striker Chris Sutton, ex-Man City midfielder Michael Brown, ex-Arsenal defender Matt Upson, BBC Sport’s chief football writer Phil McNulty and BBC Sport columnist and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague who they would pick for the big kick off.

We also want you to pick your starting XI below.

Chris Sutton's starting England XI

Chris Sutton: Gareth Southgate will pick Harry Maguire if he’s fit but I have been really impressed by Joe Gomez this season, wherever he has played in Liverpool’s defence, and I want to pick him. Bukayo Saka is on the right flank in my team but Phil Foden has to be in there somewhere – I’ve put him on the left – and the big decision was who gets the extra midfield spot. I want to be attack-minded but I’m not putting Trent Alexander-Arnold in there, I’m going with James Maddison.

Michael Brown's XI

Michael Brown: We don’t have a natural player who would be our number one on the left-hand side. It’s a slight concern because it’s not as clear-cut as other areas of the pitch. I think, if we’re talking on current form, then Cole Palmer gets the nod for me. There is one other curveball. Does Southgate see Alexander-Arnold in that other midfield spot? If he does, then that would release Foden out on to the left. Could Jarrad Branthwaite be in it instead of Maguire? He’s going to have to go some to take him out because of the experience Maguire has got and the way he is performing.

Matt Upson's England XI

Matt Upson: I’m going with John Stones and Harry Maguire in the centre of defence because they have a good understanding together and great experience and also I don’t think anyone is challenging them enough. It is a bit trickier for who plays alongside Declan Rice but I like the look of Kobbie Mainoo, a great addition to the squad. He has the energy and character and I think he has the mentality to deal with that level.

Guillem Balague's England XI

Guillem Balague: England go into the the Euros with probably the strongest squad in Europe at the moment. Most of the squad picks itself. Maguire will start because Southgate likes him very much and he is probably the best option he has in the centre of defence along with Stones at the moment. The only problems are the last midfield place and just who to play at left-back. I would play Maddison behind Harry Kane and I’d have Kieran Trippier (if fit) at left-back replacing him with Gomez if he isn’t (that is if Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell are not ready either).

Phil McNulty's XI

Phil McNulty: England will need to be bold in Germany so, with that in mind, I think Southgate should make Manchester United’s brilliant 18-year-old Mainoo part of his starting line-up against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen. Mainoo showed on his first start against Belgium he has the temperament and talent for international football, his partnership with Rice providing the perfect platform for the outstanding Jude Bellingham to flourish. So why hold him back?

I will qualify this line-up by saying there was a reluctance to select Maguire in central defence and I would have preferred it if someone had produced a compelling case to replace him. We know Southgate will pick him alongside Stones barring injury so he is included here despite reservations.

Now it’s your turn…

Select your England XI for their Euro 2024 opener

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