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Jermaine Jenas and Danny Murphy disagree over Man Utd and Chelsea stars starting in England Euro 2020 opener vs Croatia


Jenas and Murphy disagreed (Picture: Getty)

Jermaine Jenas and Danny Murphy could not agree on their starting XIs for England’s Euro 2020 opener against Croatia.

While they agreed on eight of the players who should start for the Three Lions on Sunday, they had a difference of opinion in three positions.

Three of the back four were settled in both sides, with Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker and John Stones both making the former Premier League midfielders’ teams.

But Jenas, the former Spurs and Newcastle ace, favoured Luke Shaw at left-back, while Murphy – who turned out for Liverpool and Spurs – selected Ben Chilwell.

On his back four, Jenas told the Daily Mail: ‘Jordan Pickford’s experience is key and he’s still the best keeper with his feet, which is so important to how England play. Kyle Walker is the best right-back in the Premier League and his experience against Perisic is vital. 



Jenas and Murphy’s England Euro 2020 XIs

Jenas’s starting XI: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Mings, Shaw, Bellingham, Rice, Mount, Foden, Kane, Grealish

Murphy’s starting XI: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Mings, Chilwell, Henderson, Rice, Mount, Foden, Kane, Rashford

‘Tyrone Mings is still learning but he gives us balance and I think he’ll grow in this tournament, while Luke Shaw is solid on the left.’

Murphy said of his defensive picks: ‘I would go with a back four. I don’t understand the desire to switch to a back three when England have not played it since the end of last year. And the players are used to being in a four for United, City and Liverpool.

‘I would play Kyle Walker at right-back, he’s our best defender in that position and Croatia is the game where we will do the most defending. Tyrone Mings gives us balance and I always think he’s better against better opposition. He also has a tremendous physical presence.’

In midfield, Jenas wants to see Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham given a chance to shine alongside Declan Rice and Mason Mount. Murphy, however, thinks England boss Gareth Southgate should gamble on Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson.

‘England’s biggest concern,’ said Jenas. ‘I want to see Declan Rice as the only sitting midfielder. This is what Croatia do. Brozovic sits, while Modric goes where he wants. I want to see Rice dictating play with Mason Mount and Jude Bellingham either side. 

‘Bellingham is not someone Croatia will like to face. He can get in behind you. Mount has Champions League experience, he’s adaptable, he can create but he will also press and win the ball back.’

They disagreed on whether Chilwell, Shaw and Grealish should start (Picture: Getty)

Murphy, discussing his midfield, added: ‘It’s a risk but I would play Jordan Henderson. For such a huge game, your first in a major tournament, against big opposition, you need your big players. Henderson is used to big games and he’s used to playing to the right of Fabinho for Liverpool.

‘I would like to see one holding midfielder with two in front. If you play two, that gives the players a defensive mindset. It also tells the opposition we are worried about them.’

While Phil Foden and Harry Kane made both’s attacks, there was a disagreement over whether Aston Villa star Jack Grealish or Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford should get the nod.

Explaining why he would go for Rashford, Murphy said: ‘England will need pace on the counterattack, which is why I am starting with Marcus Rashford. I would start Jack Grealish in the other two group games where we are more likely to come up against a low block. 

‘Croatia is not a game in which England will dominate possession. So we need a release ball and Rashford or Raheem Sterling is the answer. Phil Foden is in for his ability to make things happen.’

Jenas conceded his attack is unlikely to be fielded by Southgate but explained why Grealish should get the nod.

Rashford and Grealish are competing for a starting spot (Picture: Getty)

‘Mine will be different from Gareth’s,’ added Jenas. ‘I want to get Jack Grealish, Harry Kane and Phil Foden in and get them flowing.

‘I understand that Gareth might feel he needs runners as Grealish and Foden like to come towards the midfielders. Even Harry Kane likes to drop deep these days.

‘I want my full-backs to be the ones getting high and wide at pace. Then we can create overloads in the midfield areas. We need a player who can soak up all the pressure and deliver. Grealish is the one to do that.’

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