Southgate incredibly urged to drop £277m Arsenal, Man City trio as England pair get surprise nod

Gareth Southgate and Phil Foden, England

Gareth Southgate has been told to select a shock England XI

A pundit has named his mind-blowing England starting eleven for the first European Championship game against Serbia, and it does not include some big names from Arsenal and Manchester City.

England will play Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia in Group C as they look to win the Euros for the very first time, having lost in the final to Italy three years ago. The Three Lions have one of the best international squads in the world and are among the favourites to win the tournament, although they will have to seriously step up their game if they are to go all the way.

Gareth Southgate’s men lost their final warm-up match 1-0 against Iceland on Friday. The result means England have won just once in their last five outings.

Now that the 2023-24 club campaign is over, attention has swiftly turned to which players should start for England this summer.

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Southgate must get the best out of top-class stars such as Phil Foden, Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice.

However, Jeff Stelling wants Southgate to select a controversial side by incredibly leaving top stars such as Foden, Bukayo Saka and John Stones out in the first game, with Anthony Gordon and Lewis Dunk surprisingly getting into the eleven.

“[Jordan] Pickford in goal obviously,” he said during a recent radio appearance.

On the back four, Stelling added: “[Kyle] Walker, [Marc] Guehi, [Lewis] Dunk and [Kieran] Trippier for me.

England news: John Stones, Phil Foden left out

“First of all, Serbia are the biggest team in the tournament, the tallest team in the tournament. They are going to be physical, they are going to be aggressive.

John Stones has picked up a knock, he’s not physical, he’s not aggressive. He’s wonderful on the ball.

“I worry about us aerially for set plays, so I’ve put Lewis Dunk in there, because he’s 6ft 4in, he dominates in the air.”

Turning his attention to midfield, Stelling continued: “I’m going to put Rice in midfield alongside [Trent] Alexander-Arnold.

“Because I think he [Alexander-Arnold] is not the greatest defender in the world, but he offers you a bit more pace, a bit more height and also, he’s got that brilliant ability to find a killer pass.”

After selecting Bellingham in the No 10 role just in front of Rice and Alexander-Arnold, the former Soccer Saturday host named his attacking trio.

“And then my front three is going to be a bit controversial. I’m going to pick [Cole] Palmer just ahead of Bukayo Saka,” he said.

Palmer selected ahead of Saka

“Saka’s had a bit of a knock, not quite back up to 100 per cent, I think Palmer showed enough against Iceland.

“Palmer, Kane and Anthony Gordon, who I thought was our biggest threat for most part of the night.

“He has been in brilliant form, and everyone’s going to batter me because there is no Phil Foden there.

“But Foden, four goals in 34 games for England. I think Gareth Southgate and his staff are scratching their heads as to how to get the best out of Phil Foden for England.”

Fellow pundit Andy Townsend replied by saying what most of us are thinking: “That, I’m sure Jeff, will ruffle feathers.”

Foden, Stones and Saka are valued at a combined £277million and are all crucial players for England, so it would be a big shock to see them on the bench if they are fully fit.

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