This summer’s Euro 2020 tournament will see 14 Manchester City stars competing for seven different nations in order to be crowned champions of Europe at international level.
Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Kyle Walker and John Stones will all be part of Gareth Southgate’s plans for England during the campaign, while Aymeric Laporte, Ferran Torres, Rodri, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Nathan Ake and Oleksandr Zinchenko will represent Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Ukraine respectively.
After a successful campaign that ended in disappointment, Man City players will have differing roles for their nation this summer. Some will be the star men, some will have a point to prove and some will be in a different role than we’re used to seeing them in. Here is what to expect from City’s stars at Euro 2020 this summer.
Phil Foden – The City starlet enjoyed a real breakthrough season under Pep Guardiola this season and has been tipped as the future of the national team. He’s likely to be a big part of Southgate’s plans for the tournament, with an ability to play on both wings and centrally too.
His new ‘Gazza’-inspired hairstyle will catch the eye but if he can turn in Gazza-like performances at the European Championships then it will be a highly impressive summer for the 20-year-old.
John Stones – Stones looked on his way out of City last summer but a resurrection of the form that saw them splash £50million on him back in 2016 meant he was part of one of the best defences in Europe last season.
His ability to play out from the back, read the game and win one-on-one duels will be huge for England during the tournament, especially with Harry Maguire’s fitness up in the air.
Bernardo Silva – He may not always be a starter for City, but Bernardo Silva is one of the first names on the team sheet for Portugal. The winger missed the Euro 2016 triumph after picking up an injury before the tournament started, but he’s fit and ready to get going in this tournament. Supporting Cristiano Ronaldo from the right-hand side, Silva’s close control and creativity are key elements to the way they play and he will be very important if they are to retain their crown.
Ruben Dias – City’s player of the year and deservedly so, he is now also one of the first names on the team sheet for Fernando Santos and Portugal.
Alongside Pepe, Dias has become the first-choice central defender and his outstanding season in the Premier League means all eyes are on him for the defending champions at Euro 2020. He’ll be looking to continue that fine form during the competition and if he does, Portugal will be very tough to beat.
Kevin De Bruyne – The back-to-back PFA Player of the Year will miss the opening game for Belgium with a fractured orbital bone sustained in the Champions League final, but De Bruyne is still one of the most important players in the team.
Roberto Martinez will rely on his power in the centre of the park and his brilliant passing ability to find Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard in attack for Belgium to advance to the latter stages as they expect to. Nothing but the biggest expectations for the best.
lkay Gundogan – After the best goalscoring season of his career, Gundogan goes to the European Championships this summer as part of the starting midfield for one of the tournament favourites.
Germany have recovered after a tough spell under Joachim Low and are now expected to challenge in the latter rounds, with Gundogan’s box-to-box abilities and new-found eye for goal likely to play a big part in anything good that they do.
Point to prove?
Aymeric Laporte – He was seen as the glue at the back for Guardiola’s defence two seasons ago, but now Laporte is behind in the pecking order.
Even when he was first-choice he was struggling to get into the France squad but now that he’s switched allegiances to Spain he is likely to go into the tournament as first-choice, especially with no Sergio Ramos in the squad.
A successful tournament for Laporte will see him return to the Etihad in good spirits and potentially earn himself a spot back in Guardiola’s lineup.
Ferran Torres – The young winger had a decent debut season for City, scoring 13 goals in his maiden campaign. He played all the way across the front three for Guardiola and for Spain he is likely to play a similar role.
With Luis Enrique picking a young, exciting squad for the tournament Torres will get a chance to shine at the top level and if he can really impress then Guardiola could be forced to play him more often at club level too.
Raheem Sterling – One of the first names on the team sheet for club and country up until recently, Sterling’s club form hit a brick wall in the second half of last season in particular.
He lost his place in the side to youngster Phil Foden and registered his lowest goals tally since the 2016/17 season. With the chance of his England place under threat from Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho and Foden again, he must take any opportunities he’s afforded with both hands to show that he’s still one of the best wingers in the league.
Rodri – A fantastic season for Rodri was curtailed when Guardiola decided not to start a defensive midfielder in the Champions League final.
With great positional play, ability to read the game and his passing in tight spaces up there with the best, Rodri’s role in the squad with Spain was initially as an understudy to captain and legend Sergio Busquets. But the Barcelona man testing positive for COVID-19 just days before the tournament starts, Rodri now has the chance to show that he is the man to step up to the plate in the long-term for his country and become undroppable at City too.
Nathan Ake – A £40million signing from Bournemouth last summer, Ake’s injury problems continued during his maiden campaign at the Etihad. He only managed 13 appearances in total but still earned himself a call up to the Netherlands squad, mainly thanks to the injury of Virgil Van Dijk opening up a spot at centre-back.
Ake is excellent on the ball and versatile enough to play in the middle, on the left or even in midfield if necessary. But the last thing City need going into the new season are passengers, and that’s what Ake was last season. A good string of performances at international level will go some way to reminding everyone just why Guardiola was interested in the first place.
Kyle Walker – Walker had a tremendous season this season at right-back, ousting the excellent Cancelo from the line-up down the final stretch. But for England it’s more likely that the former Spurs man will feature as one of three centre-backs for Southgate’s side.
With Maguire’s injury problems likely to keep him out of the team for at least the first game, Walker could re-adopt the role he played during the 2018 World Cup run allowing one of Reece James or Kieran Trippier to play at right wing-back and give Guardiola the option of using Walker there going forward too.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – Left-back has been a problem position at Manchester City for the vast majority of Guardiola’s tenure at the Etihad, but the most reliable option he’s had during that time is Zinchenko.
For his national team though, ‘baby De Bruyne’ occupies his natural position as an attacking midfielder and he’ll be one of the key attackers for Andrei Shevchenko’s men during the tournament. His excellent passing ability, great energy and steely nature when it comes to the defensive side of the game mean he is versatile, but he’ll want to show the manager that he should be in contention is his standard position at club level too.
Joao Cancelo – After being named in the team of the year for the Premier League this season, Cancelo really made a name for himself in the Premier League this season.
Those performances will certainly have him as first choice for Portugal’s national team this summer, but his role will be a bit different to what he’s used to at club level. Guardiola often keeps him in a more central zone with the ball and allows him to bomb forward with freedom, but for Portugal he’s likely to be a bit more conservative.
Santos tends to prioritise being solid defensively and that role will be his most important at Euro 2020, despite his greatest strengths lying further up the pitch.