Saka injury fears and Alexander-Arnold in

England kick off their Euro 2024 campaign in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday, the start of what many predict will be their road to the final 29 days later.

Gareth Southgate’s side face Serbia, a varied side mixing big names like Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic with relative unknowns.

Given the depressing end to preparations against Iceland at Wembley, it will be crucial to the team’s confidence to get a good result so early in the tournament.

But with injury concerns across the pitch, this may be easier said than done.

England team news vs Serbia

It’s not abnormal for Bukayo Saka to be carrying a knock or two, with the 22-year-old regularly kicked around Premier League pitches.

He picked up a groin injury ahead of Arsenal’s final game of last season and, despite playing 25 minutes against Iceland, Southgate admitted he had missed training sessions in the week.

It is reported he is still a concern ahead of the Serbia game, and with other options available down the right Southgate may well think he is better to be saved for later games.

Elsewhere, Luke Shaw will still not be ready to start but John Stones should be having shaken off the knock he picked up against Iceland.

Stones should start alongside Marc Guehi, with Kyle Walker down the right and Kieran Trippier filling in for Shaw on his unfamiliar left-hand side.

Ahead of the defence, Declan Rice is expected to be joined by Trent Alexander-Arnold, who was given the No 8 shirt and appears favourite to start in central midfield.

In attacking midfield, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden should start centrally and on the left respectively behind Harry Kane, with the right flank dependent on Saka’s fitness.

What should England do if Bukayo Saka is unavailable?

There are two real choices here on the right if Saka is unavailable – Cole Palmer and Jarrod Bowen.

Palmer is in the better form and started both warm-up games, but Bowen may provide more of what England need with Foden on the left.

Bowen is more capable of stretching the game and could provide a different texture to England’s attack, with Palmer likely to occupy similar spaces to Foden, Bellingham and Kane.

Yet the Chelsea man’s upside is so great, as his exceptional season has demonstrated, that his inclusion would still be a risk worth taking.

England’s predicted lineup to face Serbia (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Walker; Stones; Guehi; Trippier; Alexander-Arnold; Rice; Palmer; Bellingham; Foden; Kane


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