Could Maguire and Shaw make Team of the Tournament?
Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw have caught the eye at Euro 2020, but will either Red be named in UEFA’s Team of the Tournament?
The dream XI is usually released around the time of the final, rewarding the performances of those who have most caught the eye.
And the defensive duo are surely in with a good chance as they have been among the Three Lions’ best players, especially in the knockout stages, on their march to a first major final in 55 years.
Maguire was out injured for England’s first two games but returned for the final Group D clash with Czech Republic and has been an ever-present since.
The centre-back helped Gareth Southgate’s side keep clean sheets against the Czechs, then Germany and Ukraine, and scored a superb header in the latter game for good measure.
Considering England’s defensive record, he has made a good case for being one of the two centre-backs in the XI, although partner John Stones has also been excellent.
Italy’s Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini have used all of their experience to help guide the Azzurri to the final, while Denmark’s Simon Kjaer is also being tipped for recognition – not just for his performances on the pitch but also for his role in helping Christian Eriksen after the midfielder collapsed on the pitch in Copenhagen during their game with Finland.
As he did with United last season, Shaw has caught the eye at left-back, with three assists from his five games so far. While Kyle Walker has taken on a more defensive role on the opposite flank, our no.23 is a key part of England’s attacking play.
Buccaneering full-backs have been a feature of the tournament and Shaw has plenty of rivals for that slot in the side.
Italy’s Leonardo Spinazzola was arguably their best player before suffering an Achilles injury in the quarter-final, while Joackim Maehle was such an energetic presence on Denmark’s left-hand side. The experienced Jordi Alba impressed for Spain, too.
Elsewhere, Paul Pogba might also be awaiting the announcement with interest.
Our no.6 was tipped by many as Player of the Tournament before France were eliminated by Switzerland in the round of 16, and could still be included despite that early exit.
Although the identity of the team that lifts the trophy usually dictates where the accolade ends up, Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling is currently the bookmakers’ favourite for the individual prize, followed by Harry Kane, Jorginho and Federico Chiesa. Maguire is fifth on the list of odds, with Shaw also in the top 10.
Five United players have previously made it into UEFA’s Team of the Tournament for the Euros, with three of them goalkeepers. Peter Schmeichel was between the sticks for 1992’s XI, after helping Denmark to a shock win, while Fabien Barthez (2000) and Edwin van der Sar (2008) were selected in an enlarged Squad of the Tournament.
In 2004, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ruud van Nistelrooy followed up their FA Cup final demolition of Millwall with excellent performances for Portugal and the Netherlands and made it into the 23-man selection.
It will be interesting to see if it is a team or squad officially announced this time around.