Noppon-meenuch-oiut0nv4bq0-unsplash

WHICH SOUTHAMPTON PLAYER WILL LAST LONGEST AT EURO 2024?

Southampton are celebrating an immediate return to the Premier League, but three of their key first teamers have had very little downtime due to Euro 2024 call-ups. Che Adams and Stuart Armstrong were selected by Scotland manager, Steve Clarke, while experienced Polish defender, Jan Bednarek, was also named in Poland’s 26-man roster.

As the group stage commences, attention is shifting to how long Southampton’s players are likely to feature in this summer’s tournament. The Saints have been locked in negotiations with Adams over a new contract, with the 27-year-old’s current deal expiring this summer. Therefore, there’s genuine interest among Saints fans over just how long he’d need to recover post-Euros before rejoining the Southampton squad for pre-season.

It’s slightly different for Armstrong, as the stylish midfielder has opted to leave the club at the end of his contract this summer. As for Bednarek, the 28-year-old has been the bedrock of Southampton’s defence this term. Saints boss, Russell Martin, is sure to utilise Bednarek regularly in the Premier League, so he’ll be anxious about just how much downtime the Pole gets between the Euros and pre-season too.

Article continues below this advertisement

Scotland face a battle to reach the Euro 2024 knockout stages

After their 5-1 hammering by Germany on the opening night of the tournament, it’s little surprise that few bookmakers are sweet on Scotland’s chances of advancing beyond the group stage. Steve Clarke’s men are currently priced as long as 9/1 to reach the last eight with bet365 Euro betting odds, which is only a shade bigger than Poland (8/1).

Adams started the Germany game as Scotland’s lone striker in a 4-5-1 system. As the scoreline suggests, Adams was left rather isolated throughout the opening 45 minutes, as the tournament hosts ran riot. Adams was the sacrificial lamb at the half time interval, with Grant Hanley coming on following the red card to central defender Ryan Porteous.

Looking ahead to Scotland’s potential to reach the knockout stages, Steve Clarke will need at least a point from their next fixture against Switzerland. A point against the Swiss would leave them in a must-win clash against Hungary. This would leave the Scots on four points and in a strong position to qualify as one of the best third-placed sides at the very least.

If Scotland do manage to qualify in third place, they’ll likely come face-to-face with either the winners of Group E, F or B. This means Scotland would probably lock horns with either Spain, Romania or Portugal.

Poland also risk being squeezed out of Group D

Engin-akyurt-vgh6z1zco6s-unsplash

Article continues below this advertisement

Poland looked like they were going to take at least something from their opening game with the Netherlands, before succumbing to a late Wout Weghorst winner. The Poles were without their talismanic striker, Robert Lewandowski, for the tournament opener. The national team captain and FC Barcelona star was a big miss for Poland. The 35-year-old is expected to return for the remainder of the tournament, with the team hoping the defeat to the Netherlands hasn’t suffered irreparable damage.

Both France and the Netherlands picked up wins in the opening round of Group D fixtures, leaving Poland having to beat Austria and get a positive result against France to reach the knockout stage. Like Scotland, qualifying as one of the best third-placed nations seems like the most realistic route to the last 16 for Poland.

This would likely see Poland face either England, Spain or Romania in the last 16. The first two opponents would naturally pose a serious threat to Poland’s tournament life, but Romania would certainly be a beatable prospect.

Looking at the situations of both nations, it feels like Poland has a stronger chance of reaching the knockout stages than Scotland. With Lewandowski, Poland has an elite-level player to call upon, which is something Scotland sorely lacks.

This would be far from ideal for Southampton, with Bednarek likely to be with the Polish national team until 2nd July at the earliest. Southampton’s team are expected back for pre-season training the day before. The St. Mary’s Stadium has been out of action since the Saints’ playoff semi-final win over West Brom, although it did play host to a chaotic Take That gig earlier this month.

18+
GambleAware
Gamble Responsibly.

Don’t miss another story! Get the Island’s latest news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up to our daily newsletter here.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
 

Join our daily newsletter