Gareth Southgate’s huge call on the eve of England’s first Euro 2024 test

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In what could be Gareth Southgate’s last international competition as England manager, the 53-year-old has made a big call ahead of the Three Lions first game against Serbia on Sunday.

England have come oh so close in tournament football under the former player, getting to the semi-finals of the World Cup back in 2018 before going all the way to penalties against Italy and losing in the final of Euro 2020 (played in 2021).

Everyone connected with the England team will surely be hoping that they can go one better this time and deliver some silverware after 58 years without any.

Gareth Southgate names Kyle Walker as vice captain

It’s 28 years since Baddiel and Skinner talked about ’30 years of hurt’ and how football was ‘coming home.’

That familiar refrain will be heard around Germany, though it will sound just as hollow as previous years if Southgate’s squad don’t do the business.

Being consistently defined as the nearly men, no matter what calibre of team can be counted upon, is more than a little embarrassing.

At least with the likes of Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane and others, English supporters can realistically believe that they have the best chance of glory since the likes of Lampard, Gerrard, Scholes, Beckham and Ferdinand were in their pomp.

Kane appears to have recovered sufficiently from a back injury to lead the team out on Sunday and beyond, but were he not to be fit enough to wear the armband, it will be Man City’s Kyle Walker that will replace him.

According to BBC Sport, the 34-year-old, who made his England debut back in 2011, already has 83 caps to his name and was made vice captain of the squad on Friday.

As someone who has led his club side with aplomb, taking the headlines away from his colourful personal life, there appears to be no one better to stand in for the Bayern man if the need arises.

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