Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker named in EURO 2020 Team of the Tournament
Manchester City's Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker have been named in the official Euro 2020 Team of the Tournament selected by UEFA's team of Techincal Observers: Packie Bonner, Esteban Cambiasso, Fabio Capello, Cosmin Contra, Corinne Diacre, Jean-Francois Domergue, Dusan Fitzel, Steffen Freund, Frans Hoek, Aitor Karanka, Robbie Keane, Gines Melendez, David Moyes, Mixu Paatelainen, Peter Rudbæk, and Willi Ruttensteiner.
FULL XI: Gianluigi Donnarumma, Kyle Walker, Leonardo Bonucci, Harry Maguire, Leonardo Spinazzola, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Jorginho, Pedri, Federico Chiesa, Romelu Lukaku, and Raheem Sterling.
Arguably the Player of the Tournament, Raheem Sterling had a sensational tournament with England - netting crucial goals in the Three Lions' opening game against Croatia, in the final group game against the Czech Republic, and Germany in the round of sixteen, before playing a key role in the rout of Ukraine in the quarterfinal and being instrumental against Denmark in the semifinals - winning the penalty, which led to the winning goal for Gareth Southgate's side.
Sterling, who had clear doubters before the start of the tournament due to his underwhelming final stretch of the season at City last season, was clearly England's most instrumental player over the summer, earning high praise from the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Jamie Carragher, Alan Shearer, and others.
Following the 2-0 win over Germany, Rio Ferdinand said:
"Please can we start putting a bit more respect on Raheem Sterling's name? Please! I think today when any bright sparks were coming through this team it was coming through that man in the picture there, Raheem Sterling. A fabulous player who has the courage and bravery at all times to take the ball to the opponents and today again got us off the mark and on the way to the win."
(as quoted by the BBC)
Following the 2-1 victory against Denmark, Jamie Carragher said:
"I said this after the group games, I think Raheem Sterling has been England's best player by a long way. There was a lot of talk going into the competition that his position in the team was up for grabs, which I couldn't understand because he has been outstanding for [manager] Gareth Southgate since the World Cup, over a two or three-year period."
(as quoted by Sky Sports)
Prior to the final against Italy, Alan Shearer said:
"The player for England and the Player of the Tournament, for me, has been Raheem Sterling."
(via the BBC)
The 26-year-old would likely have won the Player of the Tournament, too, had England not fallen to defeat against Roberto Mancini's Italy side.
City will look to discuss fresh terms with the forward this summer, with Sterling only having two years remaining on his current deal.
Kyle Walker was a crucial part of Southgate's defensive structure, whether that be on the right side of a back three or a more standard right-back role in a back four, with the team conceding just two goals all tournament.
Walker's recovery pace proved an invaluable asset for England, acting as an extinguisher in potentially dangerous situations - his general composure and physicality ensured he won most of his individual battles, which are key in knockout tournaments in particular.
On talkSPORT, Roma manager Jose Mourinho named the 31-year-old as his Player of the Tournament:
"My player of the tournament was Kyle Walker. I think Kyle Walker was phenomenal. From the first minute of the competition until the moment he came off in the final he was phenomenal. He was giving cover to centre-backs on the opposite side. I don’t remember him losing one single duel. He didn’t go forward as much as he does in the club because of a strategy point of view. When I call a player an animal it is the best compliment I can do to a player. Kyle Walker – an absolute animal. For me, phenomenal. From the first to the last minute he was in that element."
John Stones was among a handful of players to have started every game for England at the Euros - playing the second-most minutes behind Jordan Pickford - and proved to be absolutely dominant throughout the tournament, blocking more shots than anyone in the competition.
The 27-year-old's performances appear to have gone under the radar, and we'd argue, perhaps with a hint of bias, that he was the best defender at the tournament alongside Walker - winning his individual battles and showcasing his ability with the ball as he's been doing for years.
Nevertheless, Stones' stock has sky-rocketed over the past season and City are set to discuss a new contract with their #5 this summer.
Written by: @NA1907_
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