ONLY four of England’s Euro 2020 heroes made the cut the last time England faced Italy three years ago.
Gareth Southgate and his men are currently the toast of the nation after securing a place in a final of a major tournament for the first time since 1966.
The Three Lions came from behind as Harry Kane’s extra time strike fired them to a 2-1 victory over Denmark in front of a raucous Wembley last night.
Now Southgate and his men are hoping to go all the way and lift the European Championship trophy when they return to the national stadium on Sunday.
Roberto Mancini’s Italy – who come into the game on the back of an astonishing 33-match unbeaten run – stand in the way of immortality for our England icons.
And the Three Lions will be hoping for better luck than the last time they took on the Azzurri at Wembley on March 27, 2018.
That night they were led to a frustrating 1-1 draw on home turf – and only four members of the current squad started it.
Southgate was in his final preparations for the World Cup in Russia, which England would go on to suffer semi-final heartbreak, and included several players fighting for a seat on the plane for that showpiece.
Current No1 Jordan Pickford was on the bench with Jack Butland, now back-up at Crystal palace, favoured in goal.
This year’s defensive stalwarts Kyle Walker and John Stones were both part of the back three in front of him but there was no Harry Maguire next to them.
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The man lovingly known as ‘Slabhead’ was an unused sub as Burnley’s James Tarkowski made up the backline instead.
Eric Dier, who was left out for the squad this summer after a disappointing campaign at Tottenham, was marshalled with sitting in front of them and offering protection – a role duo Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips seem certain to continue doing against Italy.
Kieran Trippier, who came on as sub in the epic victory over the Danes, was deployed as right wing-back that night with AShley Young on the left.
And the midfield was a combination of Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard, who was unfortunate not to make the final cut this year after his sensational West Ham loan.
Raheem Sterling was the fourth member of the current crop who played that evening, and he won the free-kick that Lingard took quickly to tee-up strike partner Jamie Vardy to break the deadlock on 26 minutes.
Unfortunately for England they were unable to hold on to the lead, and it was Tarkowski who was punished late on after a debatable VAR check for Lorenzo Insigne to equalise with a penalty.
One other notable mention from that evening should be Jordan Henderson.
The midfielder, who scored his first England goal in the 4-0 quarter final hammering over Ukraine last Saturday, came off the bench to replace Stones with 17 minutes remaining to take the total number of the current crop involved to five.
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