The Mailbox is still dominated by knee talk, but we do have some pleas for England to take the handbrake off. Send your mails to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to contribute to this page.
Shot down…in a blaze of glory
Looking from another perspective, one of England not playing injured or out of form players. It is not too much of a stretch to foresee Harry Kane being knackered after the group games, perhaps even injured.
Instead of being crestfallen, I’d be rubbing my hands with glee. Kane, Hendo and Maguire are all clearly wise international football heads yet imagine with me the opposition suddenly facing a pívot of Jude and Rice then Foden as a false nine with all of Sancho, Mount and Grealish behind him Knock out international football played without the handbrake on.
Combos of Reece James, Jadon Sancho and Mount down the right, more combos of Luke Shaw, Grealish and Jude down the left and a befuddled opposition defence having to deal with all of it! A Brazil style – you may score 3 but we’ll get 4, 5 or 6 !
For this to happen, tournament stuff has to go down and commentators say how Southgate had stumbled across his ‘babes’ . That’s the way to play a tournament – risk going down in flames yet everyone remembers you as the most dazzling attackers in the tournament.
Peter (Who is gonna sign Declan & Jude post tournament?) Andalucia
…Look, I really, really want to be excited about the Euros. The problem is that I have 50 years of high expectations regarding England teams only for them to be promptly stamped on. That is, with the notable exception of ’96 where England played (mostly) attacking football. In my view, it was this that had us all out in the streets going mad and it’s also why, even though we went out, we still remember it fondly. As opposed to, say, ‘that’ Iceland game or Harry Kane taking corners ffs.
Which brings me to a couple of points. I really hope I’m wrong and I may be doing the man a huge disservice, but I think Southgate will go to his default ‘cautious’ setting. I’d suggest this means he’ll have Henderson and Rice as DMs and will start with Sterling.
Henderson is NOT MATCH FIT. He can’t possibly be. And before the ‘Pool faithful jump in at his defence, I would say the same of ANY player that had the same injury and was out for the same amount of time. We don’t need to avoid going behind, we need to attack, and we won’t do that with a crocked Hendo and Rice trying to man the barricades.
On Man City form, Sterling shouldn’t start either. There is an ultra-flimsy straw to clutch at though. A suggestion I read the other day was that his dip in form coincided with Pep’s introduction of the ‘false 9’ set-up. The argument follows that, with Kane to aim at/assist, then we may see the Sterling of last season who scored twice as many goals as he did in this one. We shall see.
I would love to see the following:
Up front: Foden (L), Kane, Sancho (R).
Midfield: Mount, Bellingham, Grealish and Rice if you go 3-4-3.
Back line. This may sound overly glib, but I’m not entirely sure it matters what combination he uses. They mostly seem much of a muchness to me.
Am also worried about Stones from a City PoV. He’s been marvellous this season, but this tournament is going, for him, to show whether he can do it without Dias by his side. Fingers crossed.
In summary, I don’t think we’ll get past the quarters as, either way, we’ll meet one of the ‘Group of Death’ teams. It’s France’s to lose and the likes of Scotland will play out of their sodding skins against us.
So, don’t sweat it. Tell our team not to worry about it and any game past the quarters is a bonus AS LONG AS we fully utilise the wealth of attacking players we are currently blessed with.
Let’s be Euro 96 not Euro 2016.
One last thing. Heard a stat today that England, in 25 years, have NEVER won their opening Group Stage game. Can we all bear that in mind for Monday morning’s mailbox? Ta.
Mark (Oh dear Phil. The hair backlash is coming!) MCFC
On toxic football journalism
In the era of social media, is football journalism becoming more and more like a Twitter troll rather than an insightful article? My answer would be yes. All I see is misinformation and oneupmanship and personal player vendettas from journalists nowadays and it’s getting worse. I challenge any reader to scan down their football news reel and count how many articles are not written as propaganda for one team or on a vendetta against another? Being objective is a thing of the past and it’s becoming harder and harder to be interested as a football fan. Especially in the off season. I thought journalists were supposed to rise above this and leave the lies and personal attacks for the people in the comments section.
Another recent trick journalists are now doing is dropping a ridiculous headline and pairing a picture of a player that the article is not even about to try and steal a click, I know this has been going on for ages but it’s becoming a lot more regular. They are the literal bottom feeders of journalism. The recent treatment of TAA by the English media is a massive example of this. One of the most talented players of his generation, English, professional, great character, never in trouble and the English media decide to go on a witch hunt months before a major tournament? It completely baffles me. Is it that the articles are no longer written by qualified journalists? Instead written by sweaty keyboard warriors with a personal agenda? I would say the latter.
In summary I can’t get an objective word about football anymore. Whether it’s the pundits or the football writers, there is no integrity in football anymore.
With regards to the ‘taking a knee’; how does it end, or does it go on forever?
I agree with Zaha, in the sense that it is a bit performative at this stage – although I agree with them doing it should they wish – , and does nothing to stop the players getting racially abused. Literally, at this stage, black players are being racially abused on social media after every game, regardless of results. So taking a knee hasn’t stopped it. While one mailer/commenter said earlier that is on social media to fix – it’s citizens who are writing the message, not Facebook etc. They are the platform, it’s the racists sending the message.
But even now, when you have had Southgate come out and say this symbol – which existed as a racial equality symbol long before the BLM movement of last summer- is purely to show support to our young black players and the wider community. And people still booed. There is no link between it and Marxism (which in itself is an umbrella term and not a defined set of social policies), and those who boo are only doing ti because they don’t like being told what to do. I reluctantly call them racist, but they effectively are. They have been told repeatedly that ‘taking the knee’ is to show support for racial equality and continue to boo it. And will continue to do so. So, what happens?
To stop, gives into these racists, who will think that they have single handley stopped a Marxist revolution, whereas to continue will just result in a symphony of racist noise at the beginning of every football match up and down the county. I genuinely think the players cannot stop until the booing does, otherwise it will be seen as giving it, and racist will be vindicated to believe that they are not racist, and that all is well in old Blighty and it has never ever been a racist country. Yet, if they continue, it just becomes an inhospitable environment for all the young black players who are clearly shown by the fans (minority or not) that they are not as welcome as they could be.
…Whatever your view on taking the knee (I won’t share mine here because whether I agree or not is irrelevant to my point), one thing that is absolutely crucial and why IMO it must not stop.
The booing is bringing the entire discussion, the reasons, the objections, the rubbish and the truth to the forefront of people’s minds. Until then it was just another gesture.
The name calling is not healthy at all. But racism and inequality is something that really needs to be addressed across society and these difficult, often tiresome, conversations are essential. And it probably does need to get heated.
If this was easy, it would have been resolved years ago. Recognising the uglier sides to your own personality is horrible to experience, but only in recognition can we change. All of us. None of us are perfect or exempt from improving ourselves. But we do not have to make public confessions, neither do we need to publicly shame ourselves.
Change will come when people check themselves and allow themselves to be checked without being accused of being the worst example of humanity. It cannot be done in days, weeks or months. It takes years to bring about this scale of societal change, but maybe, just maybe, this direct confrontation is needed right now to ignite he change.
Yes, there is a football tournament starting this week, but that is still happening and you still get to enjoy that for 90+ minutes multiple times per day regardless.
But this cannot and must not be brushed under the carpet in a way that the “respect” and “kick it out” campaigns all too often are.
So bring on the booing, if it means people who aren’t at the extremes start to take notice and learn more about the injustices minority groups face, society will hopefully finally start becoming truly equal.
…Firstly I don’t support the booing, I think it creates bad vibes and easily misinterpreted by the media who seem determined to wrestle it into a lack of support for the players or as being racist gesture in itself.
My opinion is that we couldn’t have got this whole thing more wrong. Forget BLM and it’s dodgy politics, there are so many other reasons continuing to take the knee is ill-advised.
Firstly, taking the knee will not stop racism. It’s a token and offensively pointless virtue-signalling gesture that is a smokescreen for a lack of ACTUAL change, and for that reason alone is potential more harm than good. If it really had an effect in terms of changing peoples‘ behaviour – then why aren’t we taking the knee against murder, rape and acid attacks?
The thing we are trying to stop here is either brick-headed drunken Nazis calling people horrendous names at matches, and anonymous kids on Twitter sending a monkey emoji for a laugh. Taking the knee won’t make a difference to either of those people. They literally do it BECAUSE it’s bad and BECAUSE it gets a reaction – do some psychological research people! And yet Sky/BBC continue to yell from the rooftops as front page news that some kid has anonymously sent a monkey emoji to Fred. That attention is INCENTIVE to these kinds of people!
‘Well it’s about awareness’. Is every reasonable person not aware racism is bad yet? Gimme a break.
‘Well it’s about support’. Guys, it’s ok, we know you’re not racist, so do the players you play and have a relationship with, you aren’t getting cancelled, I’m sure you don’t hate your fellow players based on their skin – this is just basic decency and does not need to be demonstrated with a revolutionary act. But the actual racists (extreme minority) don’t care about your support any more than a murderer doesn’t care about their victim – difference is, murder is punishable and (mostly) not anonymous.
There is one solution here and that is for authorities to find ways to make racism punishable. The end.
Until then, at some point in the next few weeks/months we will have to witness a horrendously awkward transition for the players who will eventually have to stop taking the knee…while realising nothing has actually changed, people can still tweet bad things, people can still hate and yell things. Hate and stupidity have been around a very long time, you can’t get rid of it *even by kneeling down at the start of a football match!*. Is there even any precedent for this?
All the while we are listening to Gareth Southgate and Luke shaw drone on, keeping to what they should say, etc etc… and ignoring Wilf Zaha and john Barnes thoughts on this matter (what happened to white saviours and listening to the actual victims, thought that’s what we learned during last summer?).
May I suggest that pretty much anyone commenting that booing the kneeling is inherently racist or moronic consider the idea that THEY in fact might need to ‘educate themselves’ and not be ‘ignorant’…and that the boos may be partly because the knee-taking is an embarrassingly ill-thought-through, token, smoke-screen, foresight-absent gesture that has already created more division that genuine change, and will have to eventually and awkwardly stop while the pockets of racism continue.
I assume everyone is still wearing their Make Poverty History wristbands from 2002 when we all made poverty history simply by wearing them? Well I assume it’s history now, cos no-one is wearing them anymore….?
…Reading the comments of today’s mailbag I can see a new type of racist hand waving…
Instead of trying to argue about racism people are simply changing the topic instead. “Oh can we not just talk about football instead?”
For the people who are thinking or saying this right now, you’re idiots, and likely racists. Football does have the opportunity to lead by example. Imagine every country hated your nation of birth (you know kind of like most of the world actually does) and their crowds were allowed to chant disgusting things specifically targeted to your nation and people. And whenever you want to do anything to defend yourself even the tiniest gesture…like say….taking a knee.
You’re told no, play football and shut the f**k up about how you’re treated differently. This is football, which is definitely more important than attempting to improve living conditions for people.
I imagine that you lack such character and imagination to he able to even consider that simple scenario.
Or how about this…if the politicisation of football really is something you disagree with that hard cancel your season ticket and your sky sports subscription stop buying the daily mail and reading the sports page and stage your own protest of abstinence from football until they make football…football again!
…Sport shouldn’t be political and it’s a shame that it is. I’m a serving soldier having completed 18 years service and completed 4 Operational Tours in Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia. I support the Royal British Legion amongst other service charities and have first hand experience of friends who have died and been injured in war. I wear a poppy to remember those who gave their lives in the service of my Country, alongside me and before. However I do not like the jingoism and enforced participation in the Poppy Appeal. Each year I watch with disgust as Nemanja Matic and James McClean are abused by fans for not wanting to participate in the spectacle, as a Serb and Northern Irish Catholic I can see why they may not want to commemorate those who died implementing British Foreign policy which they (or their families and communities) found themselves on the wrong side of. The Daily Mail is on constant watch for that one presenter who forgets to wear a poopy forcing them to justify this heinous crime. I believe that forced compliance in the spectacle removes its meaning. I joined the Army and believe I have fought for freedom, even if I disagree with their point of view forced compliance is not the same.
Fast forward to the increased activity in the anti-racism movement which has gained massive traction since George Floyd. Black Lives Matter is seen as THE leading organisation in this fight. Black Lives Matter is both a statement of fact and a Political movement. Being against racism and agreeing with the statement of fact that black lives matter is not the same as being FOR Black Lives Matter the activist political movement with a website and manifesto. The iconography of the BLM movement, the fist and kneeling is a continuation of the Black Panthers and is in the same school of political ideology. They are and have always been very left of centre. The fist has been a Marxist/communist symbol since the 1920s and their platform is exactly in line with those principles. You can legitimatley support some of the goals of their cause without supporting their ideological outlook or proposed policy prescriptions.
There in lies the problem; The Spectacle. Being asked to kneel is in someway being asked to condone, recognise or show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. But there is no situation I can see where someone who did have legitimate reservations about supporting and/or using Black Lives Matter symbolism could refuse to participate in the pre-game ritual without being castigated as a racist.* Just like James McClean, they would receive abuse, be hounded for interviews, asked to explain their stance and assumed by default to be racist, guilty until proven innocent. Even if they whole heartedly believe in the statement black lives matter and do genuinely not have a racist bone in their body, it would be easy to character assassinate that person. I am all for personal shows of solidarity in causes people they believe in, be that the Poppy Appeal or BLM. I just don’t like political speech being artificially inserted as an organised, regimented part of an event which is not directly part of the cause. Even when I agree with that speech, I can see that not everyone will be on the same page and participation in the spectacle is not a free, individual choice if participation is mandated.
Aston Taylor (CFC)
*The Zaha thing is different, he doesn’t disagree with BLM and its goals from what I can tell. He just thinks it’s not enough.
…It didn’t take long to show just how political football is, a few days without a competitive match and the mailbox morphs into a 17th century coffee house.
I’m not an authority on race by any stretch of the imagination but I did want to mention an ever increasing tactic of ‘purity’ used by those on the right to blunt the impact of political protest. Basically the premise being to discredit your message by showing how your protest failed to meet a false impossibly high standard they’ve created.
We saw an interesting variation of the purity tactic from Jon this morning, he thinks this anti-racism protest should only be allowed once other kinds of anti-racism protests have been disavowed, through loud speakers, right before the players kneel. Cause nothing says ‘united against racism’ like rejecting those with the same message and calling them criminals. But it’s alright because they don’t have to disavow Marxism, you’ll let them off that one, but they probably should right, just so you’re more comfortable. Though maybe I’m doing Jon a disservice, I’m sure for him this isn’t about race, this could be a genuine desire for us all to be better informed for which he should be applauded. I look forward to seeing his letters demanding that no politician be allowed to stand up against Islamic extremism without first denouncing the UK government because some of their terrorism policies have similarities with fascist regimes.
To be clear, they don’t owe you an explanation, they don’t need to justify their protest to you, they don’t require your permission, they don’t need to compromise their beliefs to make them easier for you to swallow. If you stand opposed to these protests because of a technicality or because the protesters haven’t met your own fickle moral standard then have no doubt, you are part of the problem and no amount of intellectual superiority will change that.
…I’m not English, but I’m an enthusiastic lover of the game and the English coverage and media made the sport really popular and enjoyable to watch, even more popular than the other leagues, I’m also an avid supporter of the best club in the country if not the world, Manchester united. Hence I just find it in me that I tend to always have a strong affinity towards the English and always tend to support them in any major tournament. In the last World cup, I kept on rooting for England till they got kicked out by croatia.
I haven’t been opportune to watch their last two friendlies matches but I saw the clip on youtube where a small/large(the volume doesn’t matter) section of English fans booed their players taking the knee. I find it absolutely disgusting, The taking of the knee has been clearly defined as a show of solidarity for social and racial injustice, some say they find it appalling because it’s political and football and politics have nothing in common. What arrant nonsense! So what do we call the rainbow laces, armbands etc to celebrate the LGBTQ? Is it a political stance to show solidarity and support to a queer group or community in the society?
Don’t forget that not every is in support of that, but some of us chose to ignore because we believe that every human being has a right to stand for what they believe in, without any discrimination or criticism towards them so long as it doesn’t endanger or harm another’s life be it physically, mentally, emotionally or otherwise. So I ask what harm does taking the knee do? Cause trust me, there’s more harm than good in the LGBT of a thing!
Alaribe G, Festac
…So I’ll start by saying I’m against the booing of players taking the knee. But I do think at the same time a lot of the reaction both in the mailbox and in other outlets is very imbalanced.
First of all, while I am firmly in the camp that the majority of people booing are racist and are using the Marxist angle and the association with BLM to justify their actions, there may be a minority of people who are genuinely against it for this reason and their booing, yet people seem very keen to ignore this argument and label everyone a racist, which in itself does not help progress things forward in how to combat this issue of the booing and racism. I believe Jon, Bridgewater covered it well in the morning mailbox, and that is if you take away the BLM association (and it is there, I most recently saw it being used by Sky in the Burnley vs. Liverpool game, as I am sure it would have been in others), make an announcement that it is explicitly about tackling racism and nothing else, then those who are continuing to boo after this would certainly be on racist grounds.
Onto responses to Greg CFC Herts, I think he is probably a bit naïve in the suggestion that there is no racism around, I think it’s obvious that there is whether you have been subjected to racism or not. But I would say the people responding should be careful about how they word their replies. Firstly, white people can be racially abused, it is a rare occurrence in comparison but can happen (as a rather minor example, a young black man previously and repeatedly called me white chicken, if I was to scream black rooster at him would that be considered racist? Not a strong comparison for some of the racism black people experience but this isn’t a competition).
Furthermore, by deciding that because he is (presumably) white his opinion is therefore less valid means your making sweeping judgements about someone’s ignorance on a topic, experiences in life, and judging them based on the colour of their skin…and I’m sure there is a word for that. I doubt that was anyone’s intention, but again highlighting how people need to be careful about these things and the way we discuss these sensitive subjects. It’s also worth noting that discrimination comes in many forms, and coming from a council estate in Liverpool I had been subjected to regular stop & search from police when I was just going about my day. At one point I was casually walking to get the bus home and the police stopped me and decided to search me (it was around 10pm at night), I asked if there was a way to avoid it because my bus was pulling up and it is an hour wait for the next one, he said no kept searching until the bus left and then said carry on. Other times regularly being stopped by police for riding in a half decent car – first question asked ‘where did you steal this from?’ So, as a white person, I personally haven’t been racially abused, but I have been discriminated against, and I know how shit it is.
My final response point is to Minty, a fan of your mails in and you often provide a good summary of subjects. However, on this subject I would say that you should be careful with using simple statistics when discussing complex topics. They at best describe surface level output to subjects, or they tell you what, but not why (this is where the qualitative research comes in). For instance, your statistics do not explain in your mail if they cover all of the UK or just a specific area. For instance, regarding your stop & search number – in London I believe 80% of knife crimes have young black male perpetrators (thinking back to a police report on the subject a few years back) and therefore it would stand to reason that more stop & search should be conducted on young black male individuals. If these statistics are UK-wide, then I would be fascinated to know if these ethnicity differences are significant (p<.05), and if so what factors were controlled for in the analysis. For example, socioeconomic status and area of residence, 2 or 1 parent households, family income. All these factors may contribute in some way or other to those statistics, but if we don’t go into depth on the subject we cannot truly understand the root cause of these discrepancies (it may be racism, it may not). A good example for this is the gender pay gap, after studying this what was actually found is that it is in fact personality traits that determine significant differences in wages and not gender, specifically if you are introverted and high agreeableness (OCEAN personality scale) you are less likely to demand a higher wage and therefore accept what is on offer, it just so happens that those personality traits are more common in women than men. So in reality it is not a gender pay gap but a personality pay gap.
For my own mailbox topic. Why do we have international fixtures through the year? Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if there was just a fluent football season followed by a longer international season where players all play and train together consistently? Surely that would help develop a good understanding between players and style the manager wants to implement before a tournament compared to the odd game here and there?
…Normally I disagree with most things Johnny Nic writes these days – about football – but I am 100% with him on his recent article on racism. I saw Jon, Bridgewater, claiming that Johnny Nic needs to read up on some of the people he claims Johnny Nic must support to be in opposition to racism. Just the same way, I guess, that the anti-anti-racism crowd will spout off that anti-racism supporters must be marxists. Clearly never having read Marx or about Marx himself – who along with his best bud Engels – was a racist and anti-semite. He was not afraid to throw the ‘N’ word around.
Its easier to fight a straw man you put up, like anti-racists being marxists, so you can attack them for being leftist, socialist, bringing-down-the-world idealists, rather than they simply wanting to stop being harrassed, bullied, treated as second class and killed, simply for the colour of their skin.
What is a real shame is that our own politicians are either latent racists, tone deaf or hypocrites in supporting anti-racism sports efforts while then saying sports is going over the top for suspending a player (cricket) for making racist remarks. They were all over the big 6 for something, in the big scheme of things, that is a lot less important than racism. Why? Because they worry that those who are booing gestures of support for anti-racism could be voters they would lose. Cowards, the lot of them.
Thank you Johnny for a well written article.
…Apologies for the length of this; I have a lot to say on this topic and the opportunity for it to be relevant finally came with this morning’s mailbox. I should begin by emphasizing that I am pro-players’ anti-racism protests, anti-fans booing anti-racism protests. I am overall pro-BLM and cringe when people “throw the baby out with the bathwater” by citing Marxist elements associated to that movement in the UK in particular.
As an American, however, I feel marginally conflicted about this whole BLM/taking-the-knee movement spreading internationally. I feel conflicted because I feel like it is reflective of non-Americans failing to understand the extent or severity of the problem in America. I have lived 24 of my 34 years in Europe, so I am actually more familiar with day to day live in Europe. I have seen Everyday Racism in action, and I have many friends of various backgrounds who have relayed it to me, on top of the reading we have all done. There is no denying that Everyday Racism exists all over, including the UK and Europe. There is also no denying the damning statistics when it comes to policing and enforcement, among other things.
These are all commonalities between the problem in the US and other countries. But people of colo(u)r in other countries are not subject to nearly the same degree of fear that the police will literally murder them. As much as Colin Kaepernick’s protest was about racism in the United States as a whole, and as much as the unrest in 2014 in Ferguson MI (among others over the years) was about racism as a whole, it really has to be remembered that State Sponsored Killings Of Black People is an even bigger and more heinous problem than the other horrible forms of racism people experience. I know that police killings of people of colo(u)r happen around the world, but the prevalence of it is not the same. It’s also worth highlighting at this time the noticable population of current and former US law enforcement professionals who were involved in the January 6th Insurrection.
It’s also worth highlighting that for Black Americans in particular, there is a particular situation where a large proportion are the descendents of slaves, rather than immigrants. They do not have another specific country or culture to emphathize with and identify with. When the US government treats them as less-than-citizens, it leaves them citizenshipless, if you see what I mean. This is ends up being slightly different from the racism and xenophobia experienced by, for example, many of my black friends in France or Britain, who have a particular background or culture they identify with on top of their French/British-ness. Both situations are abhorrent but there is a particular insidious nature to racism in the United States, and I’m just trying to highlight that in case anyone hasn’t been made aware of it.
On a similar tangent, the act of “Taking The Knee” only really makes sense in American Football. In American football, when your knee touches the ground, the play is ended. A quarterback (like Kaepernick) taking the knee is therefore symbolic. Doing so during the American national anthem, even more so. (European) Footballers taking the knee makes sense from a parallelism perspective, but it would actually be more similar to a player picking the ball up with his hands immediately after being passed the ball at kick-off. On this note, pedantically speaking, why do referees whistle and stop play during the Knee-taking? There isn’t actually anything for them to whistle. They are actually technically not enforcing the laws of the game correctly. It doesn’t matter but it’s kind of funny, considering how unwilling they are to bend the rules at other moments. My opinion on the matter isn’t that strong or important, but I would have preferred for players to pick the ball up out of protest, rather than taking the knee. But now that the racist fans have started booing the knee-taking, the only course of action is to continue and let them out themselves as the racists they are. Pretending it’s about “Marxism” isn’t fooling anybody outside of your filter bubble.
Anyway, I hope that the above comes across as intended, ie. that I haven’t seemed like I am downplaying racism in other countries or that I am not supportive of the protest movement, both in football and in wider society. It’s just that from time to time, I read and hear comments which make me think that people haven’t considered entirely how things are even worse in America in certain ways in particular.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva, Switzerland
A world released XI
Thank you to Thomas, MUFC (jokes – ST: Aguero), for dropping an XI this morning in the Mailbox, time to literally do what I seem to enjoy doing far to much and that is make a fantasy XI based on set standards.
Going to look across the whole world to see whose contracts expired and who i can put into my XI, so lets take a look at whose contract was not renewed or more likely refused to renew so they could head to their new club, so here we go:
GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma
CB: David Alaba
CB: Jerome Boateng
CB: Sergio Ramos (Could still sign a new deal, most likely will, but he just qualifies for this XI since he has not)
RM: Hakan Calhanoglu
CM: Georginio Wijnaldum
LM: Lionel Messi (Still not signed a new deal, so again just qualifies)
FWD: Memphis Depay
FWD: Sergio Aguero
FWD: Diego Costa
Bench: Rui Silva, Hysaj, Makisimovic, David Luiz, Mata, Alan Dzagoev, Santos Borre, Aboubakar
Manager: Zinedine Zidane
Well how would this team perform together as a unit? well on paper they should dominate, a strong defence, a forward line to scare any team, if Diego Costa can keep fit of course and all managed by a guy who has won three Champions League titles in a row, but naturally this is not a FIFA or FM Career Mode, so most likely finishes 4th in the Premier League and lifts the FA Cup after injuries rock our starting XI and we have to bring in Connor Wickham as our back up striker and put Robbie Brady in for Messi.
Euro 2020 is finally here – and what better way to celebrate than with a preview show to mark the launch of our new multi-sport website Planet Sport?