CHRIS SUTTON’S TEAM OF THE EUROS: Forget Kylian Mbappe and Kevin De Bruyne – arise England and Italy superstars like Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jorginho
- Euro 2020 was not a tournament in which football’s biggest stars shone
- But there were plenty of outstanding individual performances by key players
- Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane were among the pick of England’s superstars
- Jorginho, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Leonardo Spinazzola were Italy’s heroes
- Spain starlet Pedri and Czech Republic’s Patrik Schick also lit up the tournament
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here
Kylian Mbappe? Kevin De Bruyne? Cristiano Ronaldo? Well, none of them, actually. This wasn’t a tournament where the biggest names shone — in fact the two best collectives, Italy and England, went all the way.
But they were still led by a number of outstanding individual performances, from Raheem Sterling terrifying opposition defences to Leonardo Spinazzola announcing himself on the big stage before a horrible injury ended his Euros early.
Here, I pick my best XI from a thrilling tournament — and England lead the way with five selections, while fellow finalists Italy have four.
Raheem Sterling made himself undroppable. Player of the tournament? Sure, why not.
Donnarumma’s been a huge presence in goal at this tournament. The 22-year-old didn’t concede in the group stages, and he saved the penalty taken by Spain’s Alvaro Morata to get into the final.
England’s Jordan Pickford has kept the most clean sheets, largely thanks to a sturdy defence in front of him. But Donnarumma made a great contribution to his team and he’s done it while a move to Paris Saint-Germain is bubbling in the background.
Right back, England
There isn’t a better right back out there. Walker has spent this tournament showcasing his searing pace, like when Thomas Muller broke through for Germany. The Manchester City full back knows when to turn on turbo-speed.
Against Denmark in the semi-final, Walker displayed his dominance over Joakim Maehle, the left wing-back who enjoyed a fine Euro 2020. En route to last night’s final, the statistics say not a single player managed to dribble past Walker in 480 minutes of action.
There isn’t a better right back in football than Kyle Walker, who can turn on the turbo speed
Centre back, England
The return of Harry Maguire helped England reach last night’s showdown with Italy. But Stones has been an ever-present in Gareth Southgate’s back line. This time last year, Stones was being told he had to leave Manchester City to rejuvenate his career. If he didn’t, he might not make it to Euro 2020, some reports said.
How wrong we all were! Stones won over Pep Guardiola and made it into the Premier League Team of the Year. He’s made my team, too.
Centre back, Italy
The smiling assassin. He’ll give you a cuddle and a kiss on the cheek before kick-off, followed by an elbow to the belly when you’re wrestling for the ball at a corner. At 36, Chiellini plays every game as if it’s his last.
The Juventus centre back retired after Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup but changed his mind. Italy are glad he did, because he’s a big reason why they reached last night’s final.
Chris Sutton’s team of Euro 2020 has five England players and four Italians playing 4-3-3
The Roma left back was cruelly denied an appearance in the semi-final and final after rupturing his achilles. Up until that accident during Italy’s quarter-final victory against Belgium, he had been a standout performer of this competition.
Luke Shaw has been outstanding down the left for England. But Spinazzola was like a Ferrari. Nobody’s been clocked at a faster speed than this 28-year-old, who was caught doing 21mph. So quick, so dangerous, so unfortunate that he got injured.
Jorginho covered the greatest distance of any player at Euro 2020. When Italy were out of possession, he was constantly moving to provide protection for those ageing centre backs behind him and he knew precisely when to call the press.
When in possession, he made the team tick. The Chelsea player’s passing sets the tempo. He’s a midfield metronome who is hardly ever flustered. The 29-year-old’s cool-as-you-like penalty secured Italy their place in the final.
Jorginho covered the greatest distance of any player at Euro 2020. He made the Italy team tick
England’s defence feels protected when they have the deep-lying Rice in front. Alongside Kalvin Phillips, he’s started every game at Euro 2020.
Like John Barnes said: Rice holds and gives and does it at the right time! He’ll win the ball and move it on. It’s a no-frills role that the West Ham midfielder fulfils. Of his 300 passes heading into the final, Rice had only misplaced 23 of them. He’s tidy and he’s in my team of the tournament.
Barcelona have something special in 18-year-old Pedri. The teenager enjoyed an excellent Euro 2020, running almost two marathons in his six matches and passing the ball 465 times with a 92.3 per cent accuracy.
Pedri is a spectacular talent who started every game for Spain and is now being likened to Andres Iniesta. In the semi-final against Italy, he emerged with a 100 per cent accuracy in 90 minutes, completing 55 passes out of 55. Remarkable for someone so young.
Spain’s 18-year-old Pedri is special. He passed with 92.3 per cent accuracy at Euro 2020
England’s main man who popped up with some crucial goals, starting with the winner against Croatia in the opening group game. Sterling came into this tournament off the back of a debate about whether he should be starting after an indifferent season for Manchester City.
Looking back at the line-up I picked for Croatia, I chose Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford as my wingers! But I’m more than happy with how Sterling made himself undroppable. Player of the Tournament? Why not?
The England captain who led his country in its first major final since 1966. That goal against Germany opened the floodgates. After that, Kane discovered his groove, bagging against Ukraine and Denmark as he saved his best for the latter stages of Euro 2020.
Southgate’s skipper stepped up so that this country could enjoy seeing us fight for the trophy at Wembley Stadium. I didn’t agree with those silly calls for Kane to be dropped when he wasn’t scoring. Thankfully, Southgate didn’t either.
Harry Kane discovered his groove after the Germany game. Calls to drop him were just silly
Forward, Czech Republic
Whenever lists are compiled of the greatest goals in Euros history, Schick will appear alongside Marco van Basten and Paul Gascoigne. He’s earned that legacy for that 50-yard strike against Scotland. But that’s not all this Bayer Leverkusen striker brought to this tournament.
The Czech Republic scored six goals and Schick was responsible for five of them. That tied him with Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese superstar misses out on a place in my team because I simply couldn’t leave out Schick, who guided his country to the quarter-finals.
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