By Nathan Brown

As with every international tournament that’s about to begin, the expectation surrounding the England team is overwhelming and rife.

Euro 2020 was set to be no different, but perhaps this time with genuine evidence to support the belief and confidence in the squad and pool of players at Gareth Southgate’s disposal.

However, with the spread of COVID-19 disrupting and putting an end to the footballing landscape as we know it, for the foreseeable future at least, Euro 2020 has now become Euro 2021 with the tournament being postponed until the summer of 2021. Yet, for England, this could be a blessing in disguise?

Similar to the World Cups in 2002, 2006 and 2010, England were heading towards another major tournament with injury worries and doubts at the forefront of their minds. Captain Harry Kane, paramount to their front line, was expected to return this month just in time for the finals, but perhaps lacking match fitness and form.

Phil Foden will be hoping to make it into the England squad for the Euros in the summer of 2021.

Likewise, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, in the form of his career thus far, succumbed to a double stress back fracture in January and was also set to return around the April/May period. Both players will now have extra time to recover, prepare and steel themselves for a testing completion of the season ahead, as well as knowing they are back in contention for starting births next summer.

A stroke of luck it would seem, but even more so for the likes of Phil Foden, Mason Greenwood and other wonder kids showcasing their talents before the virus paused the footballing calendar.

Foden, a naturally gifted and intelligent footballer with the grace and ease on the ball rarely seen from an English player, is expected to feature heavily next season, with David Silva moving on from Manchester City after a lengthy and trophy filled tenure. Foden has long been considered the defining talent of his generation, a mercurial attacking midfielder who roams anywhere across the midfield or forward lines, capable of picking a defence splitting pass or finding himself in unenviable goal scoring positions.

As for Greenwood, a two-footed forward with 12 goals to his name this season and four assists, he has been a shining light in a difficult and taxing campaign for Manchester United. His ability to score adeptly with either foot, dispatch penalties and free-kicks in the same vein, as well as his unnerving quality in front of goal, means he’s now got a real chance to stake not only his name for the squad, but to pencil his name into the starting 11.

While football fans around Europe will find the postponement of this summer’s tournament as an enormous negative, England should see this as an extra year of planning, preparation and opportunity.