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05 June 2021

Talking points ahead of England’s final Euro 2020 warm-up

05 June 2021

England face Romania on Sunday in their final warm-up game before their tilt at the European Championship begins.

The Three Lions are again back at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium having beaten Austria there on Wednesday evening.

Ahead of the game, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the main talking points.

Will England take a knee?

There were audible jeers when England’s players took the knee ahead of the Austria win, with boss Gareth Southgate saying after the game that the team may reconsider how best to tackle racism and inequality.

It was the first time an England side have made the anti-racism stance in front of a home crowd and there will be plenty of attention on whether they repeat the move on Sunday.

If they do continue to take the knee, the reaction from the crowd will also be noted ahead of what is essentially a home European Championship campaign.

Standby battle

Jesse Lingard missed out on the England squad but could yet make it to the Euros. (PA Wire)

With Trent Alexander-Arnold ruled out of the finals after injuring his thigh against Austria a place has opened up in Southgate’s squad.

The players who failed to make the cut from the provisional 33-man pool are in contention to replace the Liverpool right-back, with the decision set to be announced after the Romania match.

That means defenders Ben White and Ben Godfrey, midfielders Jesse Lingard and James Ward-Prowse and striker Ollie Watkins will be hoping for a final chance to stake a claim to the place.

Minutes for Jordan Henderson?

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has not played since undergoing groin surgery in February but was included in Southgate’s squad.

The England boss was hoping to give the 30-year-old some minutes against Austria but ultimately decided against it, although he is not training with the group.

While it seems unlikely Henderson will be fit enough to be ready to start the Euro 2020 opener against Croatia, getting some football against Romania would at least ease some concerns.

Teenage Kicks

Jude Bellingham impressed against Austria on his first senior start. (PA Wire)

Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka are the two teenagers in Southgate’s squad and the pair were arguably the standout performers in the Austria win.

Saka scored his first England goal while Bellingham’s performance in his maiden senior start caught the eye.

The pair could feature again on Sunday with Bellingham, in particular, potentially playing his way into Southgate’s side at the Euros.

Shape of things to come

Tyrone Mings will be hoping to start England's first game of the Euros. (PA Wire)

Southgate named a back four against Austria but it remains to be seen if that is how England will line-up in the tournament itself.

With Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire not expected to be recovered from an ankle injury in time to start the Euros, Southgate could revert to a three-man defence.

Whether he opts to trial the shape against Romania will go some way to giving a glimpse into his thinking.

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