There have been few happy moments for the English national team in recent history, however, reaching the 2018 World Cup semi final was a sign of progress. Fans were eager to know if this team and manager were capable of getting into the final and actually winning a competition. So, the next big test for Gareth Southgate and England comes in the form Euro 2020. The tournament is not just a test for England, but also for Croatia – to see if they can repeat their World Cup heroics. England and Croatia are grouped with Czech Republic and Scotland in Group D. The following visualisation shows the players to watch out for from each team in Group D.
Adam Hložek (Czech Republic):
The center-forward from Sparta Prague has been one of the players to watch out for in this season’s Fortuna Liga. At only 18 years of age, Hložek has already made his senior debut and has appeared often for his club in the league. From the above visual, it is clear that Hložek is a prolific goal scorer. He is also among the top 10 scorers in the league, having played fewer minutes than every player above him in the list. It will be interesting to see how important a role Hložek plays in this summer’s competition.
Bruno Petković (Croatia):
It is fair to say Bruno Petković is among the top forwards currently in the HNL. Petković is among the top 10 scorers in the league and as the visual above shows he is a forward who is mostly stationed in the box. He is not someone who frequently attempts shots, as indicated by his percentile rank for shots per 90 but his goal numbers show he is quite clinical. One of the biggest strengths of Petković is his rare skillset. His positional versatility at times has made him one of the most in demand players in the HNL. One could also argue that he is ready for the step up to one of the big sides in European football.
Note: The data for the visual was collected on 5th May, 2021.
Che Adams (Scotland):
There was so much uncertainty around Che Adams’ international future. The Southampton center-forward, having represented England at U20 level, decided that his future at international level lies with Scotland. Adams, after a disappointing start to his career at Southampton, became integral to manager Hasenhüttl’s squad in the beginning of 2020/21 season. However, both his and Southampton’s form dipped as the season progressed and Adams lost his place in the squad. In spite of this, Adams has the highest Expected Goals value among Southampton players and has seven goals to his name. Having made his Scotland debut recently, Adams will be one to watch for Scotland in the tournament.
Phil Foden (England):
There was so much hype around Phil Foden when the season began. And, for all that hype, Phil Foden is well on track to be in contention for the PFA Young Player of the Year award. Foden has played almost three times the minutes he played last season and is an integral part of Pep Guardiola’s squad at just 20 years of age. As a U17 World Cup winner with England, Foden made his senior debut towards the end of 2020. From the visual above, it is clear that Foden ranks among the very best for almost all attacking metrics. The versatility of Foden presents a challenge for manager Southgate and there will be no one complaining if Foden is one of the first names on the England team sheet this summer.