Intro: Euro 2021 Player Watch
The ‘Euro 2021 United Player Watch’ will consist of a series of entries following every Manchester United payer participating in the European Championships this summer. The series will discuss player performances, fitness levels, and may even include insight on potential buys for the club this summer. Follow along throughout the tournament with at least one entry to be posted each week. Here’s a preview of the Manchester United players featuring in Euro 2021.
Pt. 1 Who’s in, and What Roles will they be Playing?
The European Championships are set to begin this Friday June 11th, with the final to be played on July 11th. This month long ‘festival of football’ is considered only second to the World Cup amongst many. Fans of football will surely enjoy this tournament from beginning to end, but club football fans will also be keen to keep an eye on their clubs players at the tournament. Manchester United had 12 first team players called up to represent their nations for the 2021 European Championships. Those players include: Dean Henderson, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay, David de Gea, Victor Lindelof, Daniel James, and Dylan Levitt. Let’s breakdown who’s representing who and what their roles are expected to be.
Of course, a majority of the United players participating in Euro 2021 will be representing England. Dean Henderson, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, and Marcus Rashford will all play a role for their country. The Three Lions have it pretty good as they will play every group stage match at Wembley stadium. England is in a group with Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Scottland. So, what will the United players do for England?
Harry Maguire, when healthy, will play a major role leading the backline. We don’t yet fully know if Maguire will be fit for the opener but when he plays he’ll be England’s most important defender. Also part of the backline, Luke Shaw is set to be England’s number one choice at left back. Ben Chilwell could possibly take minutes from Shaw, but based on this latest EPL season Shaw should get the nod. Marcus Rashford, who just played as the English captain in a recent friendly will be one of the teams most attacking players. Rashford should start on the left, but he does face tough competition from players like Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling. Finally, Dean Henderson will most likely be the second choice goalkeeper behind Jordan Pickford. Although, if things go sour for Pickford expect to see Henderson sooner rather than later.
Paul Pogba is the only United Player set to represent France this summer. Anthony Martial had been a lock to play up front for Les Bleus had the tournament been held last summer, but a dip in form and injury has seen him fall down the pecking order. Pogba will be vital to France and his performance will play a key role in determining France’s success this summer. Pogba will most likely play alongside N’golo Kante in midfield and be expected to provide the front players with service. France is in a group with Germany, Portugal, and Hungary (poor Hungary). Let’s hope Pogba has a terrific Euros and brings that energy back to Manchester, or at least it drives up any asking price for his potential transfer.
Bruno Fernandes, our Portugues Magnifico, will represent the defending European Champs Portugal this summer. Fernandes will play alongside Manchester United great Cristiano Ronaldo, a player we will all have our eyes on regardless of his current club. Fernandes much like Pogba will be vital to his country’s success. The number ten role will most likely belong to Fernandes. I for one am extremely excited to watch this Portugal team play, and I’m picking them to go all the way. Allez Portugal!
My favorite United player, Scott McTominay will represent Scotland this summer. Due to the nations lack of quality in several positions, we may see McTominay line up at Center Back. McTominay has played well there for his nation, and no matter his position he will play his heart out just as he does for the Red Devils. Scotland, in the same group as England, are not expected to go far. Although, I fancy them as a ‘darkhorse’ of sorts. I think they may just make it out of the group.
David De Gea will be the Spanish number one this summer, somehow, someway. Despite his mediocre campaign in the league this past year, he faces little to no opposition for his countries number one shirt. De Gea will hope to perform much better for his country than he did during the 2018 World Cup. I hope De Gea performs well this summer and he will always have a place in my heart, but I’m not expecting much.
Victor Lindelof will be a starting Center Back for Sweden this summer. Lindelof has always seemed to perform better for his country than United, but that may also be masked by his nations tendency to sit back in matches. There will be no great expectations of Sweden this summer, but they should make it out of their group. Without Zlatan the team will surely rely on good defending, much of will be led by Lindelof.
Finally we have Wales, where Daniel James and lesser known Dylan Levitt will be playing. Wales are hoping to repeat their magical run from the 2016 Euros but the teams key players are not what they used to be. James will most likely start and he will be one of Wales most important players. The team will have to play defensively for most of their matches and James speed will provide an outlet on the counter. James also provides tenacity and an engine for the team when in defense. Dylan Levitt also made the Wales squad despite a lack of first team football. Levitt played on loan this last year for Croatian club Istra 1961 garnering only 7 appearances. Perhaps this tournament could provide Levitt’s coming out party. Let’s hope!
Below are the opening fixtures for each nation containing a United player.
- Wales Vs. Switzerland, Sat. 6/12, 8am on ESPN.
- England Vs. Croatia, Sun. 6/13, 8am on ESPN.
- Scotland Vs. Czech Rep, Mon. 6/14, 8am on ESPN.
- Spain Vs. Sweden, Mon. 6/14, 2pm on ESPN.
- Portugal Vs. Hungary, Tue. 6/15, 11am on ESPN.
- France Vs. Germany, Tue. 6/15, 2pm on ESPN.
Check back weekly for updates on our Red Devils this summer.
Lastly, I wanted to note that Donny Van de Beek will not be playing for the Netherlands this summer through injury.