Combined XI of England's Euro 2024 and Golden Generation Squad

11 June 2024 2503
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The Euro 2024 squad of England has an opportunity to achieve what the renowned Golden Generation of the 2000s couldn't when the football festivities kick-off in Germany.

Time and time again, the Three Lions have promised much but achieved little at vital tournaments and no team epitomises this repeated disappointment more than the one that played all through the 2000s. Their consistent accomplishments have been overshadowed by the current generation of players, who have settled for top-three finishes in the World Cup and European Championship under the stewardship of Gareth Southgate.

Yet, how would a combined team of both generations function? Could there be a solution to the age-old Lampard-Gerrard puzzle? Don't fret, using our extensive knowledge, we at 90min have put together a perfectly balanced England team that should confidently clinch victories on the global stage.

The one thing the Golden Generation of England seemed to lack was a goalkeeper of the same calibre as their field players.

Paul Robinson and David James did their best before Joe Hart took charge, but only Jordan Pickford can claim to have contributed positively for the Three Lions in global tournaments in recent times.

The Everton goalie played a key role in the penalty shootout victory against Colombia during the 2018 World Cup, and performed valiantly, although futile, acts of heroism in the Euro 2020 final.

While his performance at the club level has been a topic of debate among England supporters, Pickford rarely disappoints his nation and should hence be appreciated more.

Kyle Walker appears to be improving with time, and hasn't shown signs of slowing down yet.

The former Tottenham Hotspur defender has faced criticism from his own coach at Manchester City, but his physical prowess means that even Pep Guardiola cannot ignore him when deciding his optimum club XI.

Walker faced off against Kylian Mbappe during the 2022 World Cup and valiantly held his ground, regardless of Les Bleus moving ahead at his team's expense.

England boasts an immense range of right-backs, and it speaks volumes of Walker's career longevity that he is still chosen over esteemed players like Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier and Reece James.

During his prime, John Terry was a tough defender who would stoically defend his goal.

The Chelsea veteran was a constant presence in the Three Lions team for a decade, earning 78 caps for England and was listed in the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team in 2006.

Despite his off-field misdemeanours causing trouble for the setup, it's undeniable he has a more prominent defensive legacy than current options like John Stones and Marc Guehi.

We might be more used to seeing him prominently shouting 'Ballon d'Or' during the Champions League final or purposely avoiding stepping on Real Madrid's logo. Still, Rio Ferdinand's playing career had little criticisms.

The former Manchester United defender is seen as one of the pioneers of the modern-era centre-backs, admired for his agility to keep up with speedy forwards and his cool and composed style of play.

He formed a powerful partnership with Terry, which ended after allegations of racial abuse by Terry surfaced.

While Luke Shaw provided a memorable England moment by scoring the opening goal in the Euro 2020 final, his performances do not match the level of Ashley Cole during his career.

The former Chelsea and Arsenal left-back produced consistent performances, praised for his standout performance against Cristiano Ronaldo in Euro 2004, which was at par with his regular club performances.

Unlike other England stars from the Golden Generation, it can't be said that Cole did not deliver.

Declan Rice, although not a strict defensive midfielder, has demonstrated his strong desire to reach the box first with West Ham United and now Arsenal.

England's Golden Generation struggled to function without a central destroyer and Rice, with his drive and defensive skills, may have helped unlock the potential of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

The former Chelsea youth player has the opportunity to carve a greater legacy on the international stage than the two aforementioned legends. Given his impressive development, only a brave fan would bet against it.

Legendary Premier League one-club player Steven Gerrard often drove England through subpar performances with a game-winning long-range shot or an energetic midfield display.

The former Liverpool star captained the Three Lions in 38 of his 114 international appearances, playing at three European Championships and three World Cups, with his first goal for his country arriving in the memorable 5-1 thumping of Germany in 2001.

His managers could never work out the balance alongside the next midfielder, but Gerrard was so often a driving force for England and a player who could always be relied upon to deliver.

Oh god, Gerrard and Frank Lampard in the same midfield? We're doing this again, are we? It famously didn't work the first time!

Whether the notoriously incompatible duo would function with a deep-lying Rice is another question entirely, but Lampard's quality as a box-to-box goalscorer surely would have been just as evident in the modern game as it was back in the 2000s and 2010s.

The Chelsea legend was one of few players who could come away from the 2010 World Cup debacle with a semblance of credit, having a legitimate goal not given in the last-16 exit to Germany, and is England's joint-tenth highest men's goalscorer with 29 in 106 matches.

Jude Bellingham is still in the infancy of his career but has already achieved so much. His performances at the 2022 World Cup displayed a maturity well beyond his years and he has since become a superstar thanks to a breakout debut campaign with Real Madrid.

The former Borussia Dortmund ace is already one of the first names on the team sheet and his neat close control, dynamic playing style and knack for sniffing out goals has hopes high that he can finally lead England to a second major international trophy.

Bellingham has become a leader of the current squad at only 20 years of age and showed in the 2024 Champions League final that he can perform when it matters most.

For a long time, Wayne Rooney was the player responsible for hauling England through qualifying campaigns to reach international tournaments. It rarely worked out on the big stage and he wasn't always innocent, but being the nation's top scorer for a good eight years counts for a lot.

The former United forward was a phenomenon during Euro 2004, bullying the likes of France, Switzerland and Croatia with his searing strength, surprising strength and ruthless finishing.

He was the country's poster boy for a long time and played a large role in removing damaging cliques from what was at times a toxic dressing room atmosphere.

Harry Kane wasn't always destined for greatness, but he took chance after chance when he was presented with him and has since become England's leading goalscorer across both men's and women's teams.

The former Tottenham Hotspur striker was a ruthless finisher at the start of his career but has since added layers to his game the likes of Michael Owen and Emile Heskey could only dream of.

He ended up missing a crucial penalty in the 2022 World Cup exit to France but Kane will be hungry to make amends with a bucket-load of goals in Germany.

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