Ahead of Euro2020, 101 sat down with ex-England and Manchester City centre-back Joleon Lescott to discuss England’s chances at the upcoming tournament, and what he makes of the attacking options in Gareth Southgate’s squad.
Lescott had a glittering player career, appearing 26 times for England in a playing career that spanned 17 years in England’s top two divisions.
The pinnacle of his career was the five seasons he spent at Manchester City, where he won two Premier League trophies and an FA Cup.
Now retired, Lescott is looking forward to taking in the latest generation of English talent, and sounded upbeat about the Three Lions’ chances when we put the question to him.
First of all however, we asked for his thoughts on England’s front three. The former defender said:
“You could pick any three of six or seven players. That’s probably the hardest decision to pick and what I feel we need to do as fans is realise we’re not just picking 11 players and they are going to play every minute of every game. We need to be able to say ‘Okay, these are the three that start this game, and then next game we may have another three.’
I think Harry Kane is obviously going to play every minute if he’s fit, so it’s two that will complement him and it’s going to vary on the teams that we face. As a nation, we’re not used to that. We’re not used to rotating our England team. We’re used to saying ‘1-11, they play’. We need to get used to seeing different numbers in the starting line-up rather than 1-11.”
Should Harry Kane have won PFA Player of the Year? 🤔🏆 pic.twitter.com/tPgvw62sQ4
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 7, 2021
Q. Who are the attacking players, away from Kane, that get you excited?
“All of them, literally all of them. In current form I feel that Phil [Foden] and Jack [Grealish] will play either side of Kane.”
“I still believe Southgate will go with a back three, which means it’s a midfield four and then a front three. On current form, I’d like to see Jack and Phil, but if they’re not playing then you’re picking Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling and I’m not arguing either.
🏴 Shot Creating Actions per 90 among England’s Attackers
🔵 • Raheem Sterling – 3.55
🔴 • Marcus Rashford – 3.24
🔵 • Phil Foden – 3.73
🟡 • Jadon Sancho – 5.46
🟣 • Jack Grealish – 6.18
— PGR (@pgr_analytics) June 2, 2021
“I don’t think there are any bad choices, to be honest, which is a nice place to be. I don’t think you can get it wrong with the front line because they all are top, top players.”
What makes this frontline so exciting?
“I think this generation are different.”
“I think they are fearless in the way they approach the game, the way they play the game. I just feel that they have a freedom of just going and just wanting to play football, regardless of the outcome they just want to showcase what they can do and what they are good at.”
— Mason Mount (@masonmount_10) June 2, 2021
“That is enjoyable to see, and knowing some of the players I know that is what they care about, just playing. They just want to play and they just want to perform. Once they are out there, they will give maximum effort.”
Can it come home?
“Of course it can! Heart, I’m going to say England, but head, I’ve got to go with France. If they turn up, they’re a problem, but in terms of what England can do, I definitely believe we can win this tournament.”
— French Team ⭐⭐ (@FrenchTeam) June 8, 2021
Watch the full interview on the 101greatgoals official YouTube channel, available here