While the postponement of the European championships was frustrating at the time, it has given the players within the Villa squad to increase their chances at participating thanks to an upturn in the club’s fortunes since the announcement of the postponement. With Villa currently looking good for a top half finish, players who would not have had a chance of going to the tournament may get the opportunity to do so. In this article, we rank the chances of members of the Villa squad making the tournament. This list will obviously only focus on eligible players so don’t expect us to explain why we don’t think we’ll be seeing players such as Douglas Luiz at the tournament.
17th- Jed Steer
Has there been a more unfortunate player in Aston Villa’s recent history than Jed Steer? A doubtlessly capable and talented goalkeeper, Steer’s tenure at the club has been plagued by injuries that have seen his career stall. In his only real stint as Villa number 1, he was a vital component of the team that got promoted from the championship and he was many fans’ choice to carry on between the sticks in Villa’s return campaign in the premier league. However, Tom Heaton’s fine form combined with another season-ending injury meant Steer made just one appearance in the 2019/20 season and he has not added to this total this season. This is the only reason that Steer is bottom of this list as he is a keeper with enough talent to start for many nations in the European championships.
16th – Keinan Davis
Another player whose Villa career has been impacted by injury, Davis seems to have been on the brink of establishing himself in the first team for years – without ever getting a good run in the team. While he is technically Aston Villa’s second-choice striker, the fact he is yet to score a Premier League goal combined with his limited game time makes it borderline impossible for him to get to the Euros.
15th – Bjorn Engels
Bjorn Engels is a player who must wonder what went wrong at Aston Villa. He started the 2019/20 season in fine form, with his debut gaining praise from villa fans and pundits alike. He was, according to Roberto Martinez, very close to getting a Belgium call-up at the beginning of last season but fitness concerns prevented this. However, he became a Victim of Aston Villa’s poor form, with Dean Smith chopping and changing the defence before he finally found the system that worked. Unfortunately, this didn’t include Engels and he has yet to make an appearance in the league this season. Therefore, it is very unlikely he will manage to get himself into contention in time for the Euros.
14th – Frederic Guilbert
A player who always seems to excite fans when we play, Guilbert, combined with his signature slide tackles, seemed to be the perfect addition to the Villa defence when he made his debut against Everton in Villa’s first win of the season. However, he never seemed to be fully trusted by Dean Smith and lost his place to both Ahmed Elmohamady and Ezri Konsa towards the end of the season. He remains Villa’s third choice right-back and, if it weren’t for the increased limit of players on the bench, he would struggle to make the squad. Therefore, it is highly unlikely he’ll be able to sneak into a France team that already has Benjamin Pavard and Nordi Mukiele.
13th Tom Heaton
Had it not been for his season-ending injury on Boxing Day last year, Tom Heaton would be much higher on this list. He was in the England squad prior to his injury and, while he wasn’t the first choice, it is doubtful many would complain should be line up as England’s number one. However, that injury- combined with the astonishing form of Emi Martinez, has meant that he is now well down the pecking order and, while stranger things have happened, it is hard to see him regaining a spot in the England squad any time soon.
12th- Jacob Ramsey
It says something about the chances of some of the players in this list that 19-year-old Jacob Ramsey ranks above them, having only made his debut at the end of 2020. A player who has heaps of talent and could doubtless be a mainstay in the England team in years to come, this tournament has probably come a few years too early for Ramsey. However, if he keeps up his fine form, he could be featuring for the three lions in the not-too-distant future.
11th Anwar El Ghazi
Had this list been written a few weeks ago, El Ghazi would probably have been considerably further down this list. Nevertheless, his fine form recently has the chance to have caught Frank De Boer’s interest. He is a player that has divided fans’ opinion, but he is a player that has as much talent as any other player in the squad and, when he’s confident, he can be unplayable at times. It is unlikely we will see him at the tournament in the summer but all he can do is continue to find the net and hope for an injury crisis for the oranges.
10th- Kourtney Hause
A player who can consider themselves very unlucky to not be starting for Aston Villa, Kourtney Hause is a very dependable defender who can play at centre back or left-back. He is one of the best players in the air in the whole league and, if either Mings or Konsa pick up an injury, he will be the first reserve. If he can get a run in the team, it is conceivable that he could catch Southgate’s eye, especially with England’s issues at centre back.
9th- Neil Taylor
Another ‘first reserve’ player, Neil Taylor is firmly second choice left-back behind Matt Targett. He has previously been a consistent starter for the Welsh national team but, since leaving the squad in 2019 for personal reasons, he has not won his place back in the last couple of international breaks. Thanks to the Welsh national team not being blessed with left-backs, Taylor is probably the first player on the list it wouldn’t be unrealistic to expect to see at least in the squad for the Euros.
8th- Ollie Watkins
Ollie Watkins has proved to be a fantastic summer signing for Aston Villa, he has brought goals which have been lacking from Villa Strikers for a while (with the exception of Tammy Abraham) as well as constant energy for the whole 90 minutes. He is a player which may sneak into the squad thanks to his ability to play on either wing or as a main striker. It would probably take a few injuries and the player playing out of his skin for the rest of the season to get on the plane but, if he does manage to get into the squad, people shouldn’t be surprised.
7th- Matty Cash
Arguably signing of the season, Matty Cash has been a revelation at right-back. He can do it all, he can cross, defend, he’s quick and he’s a very well-rounded defender. The only thing holding him back is England’s ridiculous depth at right-back. However, with Trent Alexander Arnold out of form, as well as Southgate’s preference to play Kyle Walker at centre back, there may well be a place in the squad for Cash.
6th- Ezri Konsa
Ezri Konsa has been nothing short of phenomenal this season. A player who never seems to put a foot wrong, he can do it all and is a major reason that Aston Villa has got such a good defensive record this season. He’s not been dribbled past once and consensus among villa fans seems to be that he should be starting for England. The fact he is only 6th on the list says more about Southgate than Konsa, with Southgate potentially unlikely to take Konsa ahead of his favourites such as Maguire, Keane, and Stones. However, if he keeps up this form, it would be a mistake not to take him.
5th- Matt Targett
Matt Targett is a player who has turned around his Villa career this season, as well as changing fans’ opinion of him. He had previously been perceived as weak and poor defensively, with too much emphasis on attacking rather than doing his job as a left-back. However, this season he has been phenomenal, his defensive game has come on leaps and bounds, and he has maintained his attacking threat. Furthermore, the fact that England are very short on left-backs, he could definitely play himself into contention this season.
4th- Ross Barkley
This placement depends entirely on whether Ross Barkley can stay fit. When he has played this season, he has been magnificent at times and has been that missing link in the team’s midfield that can take some of the Burden off Grealish in terms of creativity. He is a player that Southgate has continued to pick even when out of form at Chelsea, so if he can play consistently with good form this season, he can conceivably get into the England squad. He is also a player unlike many others in the England squad, probably only contending with Henderson and James Ward Prowse as an out and out midfielder. With England’s other options being either more defensively minded or number 10s.
3rd- Tyrone Mings
If Tyrone Mings continues his form, he will be in the England squad – simple as. He has established himself in the squad in the last year thanks to his versatility and his leadership and there have not been many players that have performed well enough to knock him out of contention. He may divide fan opinion at times, but his leadership qualities cannot be ignored and the fact he is a left footed centre back gives the squad more options in terms of formations they can play.
2nd- Jack Grealish
The fact that Captain Jack is only at number 2 on this list may come as a surprise to many. The fact he is Villa’s only arguably world-class player, as well as the fact he can play in several positions should mean he would get into any nation in the world’s squad. However, once again, this selection says more about Southgate than Grealish- with the England manager appearing reluctant to give Grealish a chance to establish himself in the side. Every time he has played, he has been a man of the match and one would hope he can be a player that is cemented in the squad by the time the Euros roll around.
1st- John McGinn
Three things in life are inevitable- death, taxes and John McGinn getting into the Scotland squad. The energetic midfielder has managed to rediscover his form that first endeared him to the Villa faithful in the 2018/19 season. It took him a few months following his horrific injury to get back to full fitness, but it has certainly been worth the wait. It would take something very drastic to stop Scotland’s player of the year for 2020 to get into the squad for the Euros and it is for that reason that McGinn is (relatively comfortably) top of the list.
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