England’s Euro 2024 campaign has been a pretty hard watch.

Those that say qualification to the knockout stages is the only thing that matters during the group stages are technically correct, but should it be this mind-numbingly boring to watch some of the world’s best players pull on an England shirt?

The answer is absolutely not. Spain, Germany and even Austria have shown that international football needn’t be so tiresome, but Gareth Southgate hasn’t quite got the memo. Eight years after his appointment, it’s probably a tad late now.

However, while England have been far from swashbuckling, not all those to have donned a white jersey deserved to be chastised for their displays. In fact, a number of the Three Lions’ new-look Euro 2024 squad have impressed in Germany.

Here are England’s three strongest performers from the group stage.

Bukayo SakaBukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka hasn’t been given much support / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

Not too many England players have shone at Euro 2024 so far, but Bukayo Saka has been one of England’s brighter performers. While not exhibiting his Arsenal form just yet – which is likely not his fault – the youngster has at least offered some threat down the right-hand side.

Saka provided the assist for the winning goal against Serbia in England’s opening match with a positive burst down the flank and was the sharpest of a toothless front line against Denmark.

Before his withdrawal against Slovenia, he had hit the back of the net following a good run beyond the opposition backline, only for his strike to be ruled out for offside in the build-up.

To reiterate, Saka has not been exceptional in Germany, but he has played with intensity out wide, even if he has been shackled by Southgate’s defensive setup.

Jude BellinghamJude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham was the match-winner against Serbia / Stu Forster/GettyImages

After England’s opening 1-0 victory over Serbia, many pundits and fans had already crowned Jude Bellingham the Player of the Tournament. An all-action display from the recent Champions League winner, capped by a fantastic header to decide the match after just 13 minutes, understandably drew immense praise.

Like he had done for much of the season with Real Madrid, Bellingham played with a swagger in Gelsenkirchen. He finished the match with more touches than any other player and more passes into the final third, with only John Stones performing more defensive actions.

Playing in the number ten position just off Harry Kane, the 20-year-old stood up when England needed him most, even if his subsequent performances against Denmark and Slovenia were not his finest for his country.

Without his display against Serbia, Southgate’s side may not have even made it out of Group C.

Denmark v England: Group C - UEFA EURO 2024Denmark v England: Group C - UEFA EURO 2024

Marc Guehi has slotted in seamlessly / Crystal Pix/MB Media/GettyImages

Southgate willingly dropped some of his old favourites for Euro 2024, but one switch that was enforced was Harry Maguire. The Manchester United defender, who has been a regular for England despite patchy club form over recent seasons, was named in the provisional squad, but didn’t make the final cut due to injury.

With a lack of world-class options at centre-back, England fans were justifiably concerned about the backline, but they needn’t have been.

Marc Guehi was handed a starting berth for the tournament opener against Serbia and put in an excellent display as England eked out a victory. Keeping Dusan Vlahovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic quiet is no easy feat, but the Crystal Palace defender slotted seamlessly into the Three Lions’ defence and did just that.

Guehi was the standout performer against Denmark during a difficult watch and put in another strong display against Slovenia as England closed out the group stage.

He has been fierce in the tackle, composed on the ball and confident in duels, overshadowing Man City’s John Stones during three excellent outings.


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