England starting XI for Euro 2024 opener against Serbia revealed with Saka set to start

Joe Williams
England boss Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate gets lucky with England's next opponent.

Bukayo Saka is expected to win his fitness battle and start for England in their Euro 2024 opener against Serbia on Sunday, according to reports.

Gareth Southgate’s side face Serbia in their Group C opening clash with Saka one of the biggest doubts ahead of the match in Gelsenkirchen.

England can realistically expect to challenge for their first major trophy since winning the World Cup in 1996 with the Three Lions first having to navigate their way out of a tricky group which also contains Denmark and Slovenia.

Saka was restricted to just a 25 minute cameo against Iceland in a pre-tournament friendly but The Sun are now claiming that the Arsenal winger ‘set to start after winning fitness battle’.

There had been some doubts after Saka missed the Gunners’ final match of the Premier League season with a groin injury – but the newspaper claims he ‘is in line to play from the off in Gelsenkirchen’.

Elsewhere, Trent Alexander-Arnold is set to partner Rice at the base of midfield, while Marc Guehi will partner John Stones in central defence after Harry Maguire missed out on the squad through injury.

The Sun have noted down the expected starting line-up as they ‘revealed’ Southgate’s XI for Serbia:

Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Marc Guehi, Kieran Trippier; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham; Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane.

Speaking ahead of the match against Serbia, Southgate reckons the “innocence” of some of his squad could work in their favour in Germany.

Southgate told a pre-match press conference: “We have got a balance of players who have been some really big nights together and others who have a rawness, an energy and an excitement about them of being in their first tournament.

“Both things I think are adding to the group. In Russia we were one of the youngest teams, one of the least experienced teams, so I don’t think it is essential that you have experience throughout.

“And equally we have enough players who have played on the big nights, either with us or their clubs, and they are able to deliver in those moments. That of course at times can be helpful.

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“Innocence is a bonus, there are lots of players. When I went into Euro ’96 despite the end I had a good tournament, and I only went in with three or four caps. So, I think there is opportunity for people to make a name for themselves.

“This is a moment in time for them and we have picked some players who are in good form and showing that on the training pitch and they can add to what we are doing.”