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Euro 2020: Jack Grealish, Phil Foden or Raheem Sterling? Who will emerge as England’s super-sub?

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Jack Grealish on the ball for England (The FA via Getty Images)
Jack Grealish on the ball for England (The FA via Getty Images)

No matter who Gareth Southgate selects tomorrow to face Croatia, there is an inevitability about fans grumbling about those players that miss out.

England can now boast genuine top class depth out wide and in support of Harry Kane, which should boost their chances this summer when combined with Uefa introducing up to five substitutions.

With none of Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford guaranteed to start, Southgate will be cognisant of how to use his weapons from the bench.

If England are to prosper in the knock-out stages, where they may well collide with the reigning world champions France as early as the round of 16, it is sensible to expect any progress to hinge on a substitute providing late inspiration.

While that aforementioned quintet will have desires of gracing Wembley from the first whistle, the reality is at least two will have to bide their time.

Shaun Wright-Phillips knows this role well, having entered the 2010 World Cup on the fringe of England’s starting line-up.

But despite missing out on the XI to face the United States in Rustenberg, Wright-Phillips didn’t have to wait long, replacing James Milner after just half an hour in an opportunity he anticipated even before takeoff to South Africa.

“You train as if you’re starting the game,” Wright-Phillips tells The Independent when discussing the role of those who are not in Gareth Southgate’s initial starting line-up.

“You never know what the team will be or what will happen in the first five minutes of the game.

“You should train and prepare ready to start the game, put yourself in a position to help the team and win.

“I don’t think anybody would train differently, you want to be sharp and perform at the highest level, and to do that you have to train at your maximum every day.

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“I always believe at some point I will get on the pitch. If something needed changing in the game I was somebody who could help with that.

“I was always prepared to come on and ready to come on. My game preparation was the same as if I started the game.”

Wright-Phillips believes Southgate has ensured any disappointment from those missing out will have a minimal impact on the team due to the “club atmosphere” built in recent years and the feeling of “playing with your friends”.

Raheem Sterling appears primed to feature from the outset, given his rare ability to dash beyond Kane and into the space behind the Croatian backline.

That, despite his mixed form for Manchester City in recent months, is a vital part to England’s prospects this summer and the need to find the right balance in support of Kane.

“I think you should try and balance it,” Wright-Phillips adds when pondering who will get the call to start in support of Kane.

“He [Kane] likes to come short into those pockets, with the intention of leaving space behind. Or even select a midfielder behind Kane who can go beyond him.

“I can see Gareth balancing it off, even though Sancho or Sterling go deep, they still know how to link up in front.”

Shaun Wright-Phillips previewed Euro 2020 with SBK. Download the SBK sportsbook app to play the SB10K, where you can win up to £10,000 by answering 7 Euro 2020 quiz questions correctly (18+ please bet responsibly)

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