Will Darch provides the soundtrack to England’s Euro 2020 squad. 26 players – 26 songs.

Just over a week until it all begins. The adverts have all started, beer, barbecues and TVs as big as your car: It’s time for Euro 2020 (2021 edition) and Gareth Southgate has announced his final 26. To get in the mood: here’s my playlist with one song for each lion we will pin all our hopes on. Some are silly, some are a vibe I get from the player, most are just stupid. Enjoy!

GOALKEEPERS

Dean Henderson – Number One Spot by Ludacris

A man with all the bravado of Pickford and some of the holes as well. Henderson’s stock has never been higher following his stat circulation after David De Gea’s shootout sorrow. A look at the squad numbers show he is quite literally not Southgate’s number one, but it won’t stop him gunnin’ for it.

Jordan Pickford – Can’t Hold On by MED

I’m not trying to push an agenda here. Pickford’s distribution is obviously stellar and he has had a steady season, but he is not without his faults as a goalkeeper. Let’s hope he holds on.

Sam Johnstone – Egg Man by Beastie Boys

I feel bad about this one. There’s just not much to say about a third choice tournament keeper.


DEFENDERS

John Stones – Gotta Be Your Lover by Jon Bap

A multiple time Premier League winner and so nearly a Champions League medal in addition last week. Stones has a propensity for greatness, until you expect it from him. This weird and wonderful fusion of Mike Mitchell’s jazz drums with Jon Bap’s out of time guitar and lushus R’n’B vocals never do what you expect but produce exquisite results. Take note, Stones.

Harry Maguire – Controversy by Prince

Is he fit? Is he injured? Is he underrated? Is he overrated? Is he oversized? Was he really chatting up that girl in the meme? What the hell happened in Greece? Harry Maguire is a man surrounded in controversy.

Luke Shaw – Reborn by KIDS SEE GHOSTS

One of the feel good stories of the season for all football fans. Shaw’s renaissance has been astonishing and the brick-bodied kid (shoutout Open Mike Eagle) has muscled in on Chilwell’s monopoly over the left flank.

Kyle Walker – Sure Shot by Karl Denson

The cheat code in England’s glorious run to the semi finals of the World Cup in 2018. Walker feels a safe selection whether RCB or RB. A call back to a few of the krakens he has released from that right foot too.

Reece James – Gospel For A New Century by Yves Tumor

He’s intelligent, quick, strong, an excellent crosser, makes well-timed runs and can take opposing attackers out of big games (even if they are English too). Reece James is from a different century.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – Heartbreaks + Setbacks by Thundercat

Why do we hate on our own? I really hoped TAA had the opportunity to show just how good he is. To those in doubt: his defensive numbers are actually up this year – and he doesn’t care what you think. This injury is so cruel and the latest setback the should-be nationally celebrated wonderkid will have to endure. If anyone can overcome the heartbreak, it’s the chess master.

Kieran Trippier – Return of the “G” by OutKast

Does anyone scream more of 2018 nostalgia than Trippier? Well, 5 years on and Scrappy Doo is fresh off a La Liga title and you know he has the faith of the man in the waistcoat. 

Ben Chilwell – Hollywood Swinging by Kool & The Gang

Something about Ben Chilwell just screams Hollywood. Perhaps it’s his big money move to Chelsea. Possibly his blockbuster-esque winning of the Champions League in his first season there. More likely that his hair and youthful expression make him look like he’s fresh off the set of Dunkirk. Whichever it is, he’s Big-time Ben now.

Conor Coady – 3 The Hard Way by Beastie Boys

England’s biggest indicator that a back three will indeed be Southgate’s order of the day. Coady has specialised in being one in a back three. Triple Trouble could also work here if you prefer. I just like the idea of Coady being ‘Fresh dressed cos [he] shops at Modell’s’.

Tyrone Mings – SUPERVILLAIN THEME by Madvillain

He’s a Villain. Villa players also had their stud marks all over the top of disciplinary charts this season. Mings wasn’t the worst culprit by any means, but something about him (perhaps that cruncher in the Austria friendly) just screams bookings and suspensions to me.


MIDFIELDERS

Jude Bellingham – Skipping Rocks by Oddisee

Difficult to avoid the obvious selections of ‘Edge of Seventeen’ or ‘Hey Jude’ here. Instead, a new beginning, hope springs eternal, a tune of pure ebullience. It feels oh so good to be on the verge of this absolute wonderkid. Give him the keys, Gareth.

Jack Grealish – Saucy Jack by Spinal Tap / Itkanbe[sonice] by NxWorries (for the Spotify playlist)

No explanation required:

Mason Mount – Planned Attack by Quasimoto

Has anyone’s stock risen higher in the last twelve months than Tuchel the Tinkerer ever-present? Mount is pretty much everything you could want in a ten and he is planning his attack on Europe. 

Declan Rice – Please Set Me At Ease by Madlib

As joyous as 2018 was, the hole at number six was, and quite possibly still is, glaring. My fears are all but dismissed if West Ham’s Declan Rice is on the plane, I’ve yet to really see that guy play for England. Please set me at ease, Mr Rice.

Kalvin Phillips – Self: Love

Not good enough for Southgate whilst still in the Championship. Involved ever since being in the bigtime with Leeds. No doubt he is a sensible option and offers a lot that not many others do – much like Joe Armon-Jones.

Jordan Henderson – We Continue by DâM FunK

What a tumultuous year for the Liverpool captain. Undoubtedly a leader in every sense of the word – a point only further evidenced in the era of empty stadiums. Even as a United fan, I admire the respect Henderson carriers and his continuous, relentless charge towards success.


FORWARDS

Harry Kane – Crossroads by Bone Thugs N Harmony

Speaking of leaders…the top scoring el capitan from 2018 is fresh off of collecting more individual accolades for Spurs – sidenote: when did the Playmaker Award become a thing? Kane is also fresh from meetings with Levy and Tottenham top brass requesting permission to leave. The number nine is truly at a crossroads in his career.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Scared Money by NxWorries

There is something wonderfully old school about DCL’s game. A striker that has always offered a lot in build-up play feels akin to the 90s greats of Teddy Sheringham and Kevin Campbell. Now, with sixteen Premier League goals in a season under his belt, the fearless throwback is an emerging force and exceptional backup to Kane.

Bukayo Saka – Looking for the Perfect Beat by Afrika Bambaataa

There seems to be a lot of surprise in Saka’s inclusion. You cannot deny the versatility he brings to the supposed 3-4-3 system. You also can’t deny just how much hustle, energy, style and talent he has. 

Raheem Sterling – Can You Stand The Rain by New Edition

Has anyone had to put up with more detestable bile and unwarranted criticism than Raheem Sterling? The latest downpour consists of transfer rumours and stories about swap deals for Kane or Haaland. Sterling has proven he can stand up and come through against it all so far – my money is on him.

Marcus Rashford – That’s Love by Oddisee

Few have done as much to spread aid, hope and love during the pandemic. The doctor encapsulates everything positive within the profile football has granted him and shows no sign of stopping. Thank you, Marcus Rashford.

Jadon Sancho – Brothers On The Slide by Cymande

The undisputed king of the slide rule pass. If Mr. Double-Double himself doesn’t get an assist in the tournament (and make it look sexy) I’ll…probably just cry. Just like Cymande, the man is as timeless and cool as they come.



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