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Could Harry Kane’s Back Injury See Ollie Watkins Start for England at the EUROs?

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Although there are gaping holes in Gareth Southgate’s England squad, one area that’s not in short supply is the forward line.

It’s likely that Southgate will play with one striker in Germany – Harry Kane, unsurprisingly, will be chosen to lead the line. At least, he will if he recovers from a back injury in time for England’s first game against Serbia on June 16.

If he doesn’t, there will be a void that will need to be filled – potentially paving the way for Villa’s Ollie Watkins to enjoy some big tournament football.

Leading the Line

The majority of EURO 2024 bets so far have come for England to end nearly 60 years of waiting to lift a major trophy.

Their EURO 2024 winner betting odds have been cut to 3/1 as a result, ahead of France (7/2) and Germany (5/1).

For the Three Lions to live up to the favourites tag, they will need somebody to consistently put the ball in the net – a talent that Kane is not exactly shy of.

But there are suggestions that his back injury is not a simple setback, with some media outlets reporting that the Bayern Munich man is seeking ‘specialist treatment’ in a bid to be ready for England’s opener.

And even if he is, the quick turnaround in games means that England take to the pitch again just four days later against Denmark – even if Kane is fit for the Serbia contest, any lingering pain will likely see him miss out against the Danes.

Southgate has named his preliminary squad for the EUROs, with Watkins just one of two ‘traditional’ striking options, besides Kane, alongside Ivan Toney.

The Brentford frontman is a natural goalscorer, of that there’s no doubt, but does he boast the all-round game of Watkins? The Villa man notched 19 Premier League goals this term, let’s not forget, but also delivered 13 assists for his teammates – the best return in the division.

All told, that’s 32 goal involvements – outstanding output and the key reason why Watkins should start in one of England’s two opening games at EURO 2024.

Villans in Europe

Ezri Konsa is another Villa star that could feature for England at the EUROs – Southgate is crying out for a dependable centre back to partner John Stones. The 26-year-old has performed as well, if not better, than the other options at the head coach’s disposal.

Meanwhile, John McGinn will be a key figure in Scotland’s Group A campaign. They will be up against it when taking on hosts Germany in the tournament opener, but subsequent fixtures against Hungary and Switzerland offer opportunities – don’t be surprised if the Scots make a dash for the Round of 16.

At the time of writing, Poland hadn’t named their preliminary squad, but given that he has been involved in four of their most recent World Cup qualifiers, it seems a given that Matty Cash will be selected – he will be hoping the Poles can navigate a tough group that also includes France, the Netherlands and Austria.

Youri Tielemans and Pau Torres are just two of the other Villans that will be hoping to make their mark on the EUROs this summer. But will any of them get their hands on the trophy?

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