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Euros - Football: Who should start for England at Euro 2022?

Head coach Sarina Wiegman has exceptional depth in her England squad heading into the European Championship Women 2022, but what should the starting XI look like?

England open their campaign against Austria at Old Trafford and with so many options in defence, midfield and attack and no major injuries picked up in pre-tournament friendlies, there are multiple killer combinations for which Wiegman could opt.

Here is a look at who should start for the Lionesses this summer.

What:

European Championships Women 2022

Where:England
When:

Wednesday 6th July 2022 - Sunday 31st July 2022

How to watch:

BBC One, BBC Two and BBC iPlayer

Odds:

Spain Women 9/2, England Women 9/2, France Women 5/1, Netherlands Women 5/1 

Earps should get the call between the sticks

Deciding who should start in goal for England appears to have been particularly tricky for former Netherlands head coach Wiegman since she took charge last September.

At the Arnold Clark Cup earlier this year, she rotated between Mary Earps, Ellie Roebuck and Hannah Hampton with all impressing on their day.

Out of the three, though, 29-year-old Earps is the most experienced and is fresh from racking up 22 appearances for Manchester United in the Women's Super League last season.

Manchester City's Roebuck, meanwhile, shared goalkeeping duties with Karima Benameur Taieb domestically last term and Earps should be England's first-choice shot-stopper.

Greenwood to start in centre with talented Bright

Former England captain Steph Houghton missed out on the 23-player squad for this summer's Euros, having been nursing an Achilles injury for most of the year, but there is still plenty of strength in the country's defensive department.

Vice-captain Mille Bright is nailed on to start through the centre, whilst Wiegman would not be forgiven for leaving out Lucy Bronze, who offers marauding runs and world-class attacking threat from right-back.

In terms of who could partner Bright through the centre, captain Leah Williamson is an obvious choice but looks better as a midfielder so Alex Greenwood can fill that position with the experienced Rachel Daly at left-back.

That back four have experience playing together, most recently in the 5-1 thrashing of the Netherlands.

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Williamson should be deployed in midfield

If she is not starting at the back, tenacious Arsenal talent Williamson should be played in a midfield pivot with Keira Walsh.

The pair are known to be close friends but are also both fine passers of the ball, meaning England's build-up play should be in good hands.

Georgia Stanway, who is known for her versatility, works well in the middle too but along with Williamson and Walsh, that would make for too defensive a midfield.

On top of that, Stanway's tendency to concede fouls could disrupt the rhythm of England's free-flowing game, while, at 35, Jill Scott is unlikely to earn a starting berth.

Instead, England should look to play a 4-3-3 attacking formation with Walsh and Williamson playing behind Chelsea's Fran Kirby, who could work well in a number-10 role, which she has occupied in recent pre-tournament friendlies.

Record-breaking White spearheads star-studded attack

England have depth across nearly every position but it is in attack where they look most dangerous and it is also the area of the pitch which could give Wiegman the most headaches.

Bethany England, Ella Toone and Nikita Parris are all top attacking players but may have to settle for spots on the bench, at least to begin with.

Through the centre of attack, meanwhile, Wiegman likely finds herself picking between veteran Ellen White and Manchester United ace Alessia Russo.

Previously, White would have been the obvious pick but Russo has thrown her name into the mix after some decent displays against the Netherlands and Switzerland, against whom she scored.

As England's all-time top goalscorer, White still looks the best option through the centre with Russo a great super-sub prospect, but who will play on either flank?

When matches in big tournaments are tight, teams require that player who can unlock the door with a bit of magic and 21-year-old Lauren Hemp fits that description.

Hemp has won the PFA Women's Young Player of the Year award in four of the last five years and, with her mesmeric runs and trickery on the ball, she has to start on the left.

As for the right side of the attack, Chloe Kelly is tempting but Wiegman could be better-placed going for Beth Mead, who scored 11 goals and laid on eight assists for Arsenal in the Women's Super League last campaign.

England best lineup: Earps; Bronze, Bright, Greenwood, Daly; Williamson, Kirby, Walsh; Mead, White, Hemp.

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