Summer competition always offers chances to players to prove their value and even add their names into some transfer conversations. Many players have generated interest from top clubs purely off stellar performances in tournaments, James Rodriguez’ £60m move to Real Madrid in 2014 the prime example.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has done well to rid the aging clique at Manchester United but some fringe players without long-term players remain at the club and some need to have good tournaments in order to save their futures.
Jesse Lingard was unlucky not to make the final 26-man squad for England, having initially been picked in a 33-man squad. But his standout performances for West Ham will have done enough to attract big clubs.
Probably the player with most to prove on this list. Daniel James has fallen out of favour at Manchester United since his extraordinary start. James scored three goals, all of top quality, in his first four games but has struggled to have an impact in his second season. The emergence of Mason Greenwood won’t have helped the 23-year-old but he is in desperate need of some good form.
James is expected to start all of Wales’ important games at the tournament, and generally has a good record for his national side. Gareth Bale is their go-to man but James is not far behind and will want to impress when the world is watching.
Wales have a tricky group, with Italy, Switzerland and Turkey all in it but they will fancy their chances. Especially considering the new ‘third place rule’, which allows the four best third-placed teams entry into the round of 16.
Fresh off the back of a great personal season which included 21 goals and 15 assists, Rashford still has a lot to prove. Manchester United are in the hunt for Jadon Sancho, further strengthening their frontline and that should be interpreted as a threat to the 23-year-old.
Despite his fabulous numbers on the pitch, many would pick other England talents ahead of him in their starting team. Having recently captained his national side, Rashford is seen as one of the more senior players in the squad despite his young age.
Rashford is expected to start England’s first game against Croatia and will need to start as he means to go on and leave his hungry competitors in his wake. There are questions over Rashford’s fitness, with surgery after the Euro’s now seen as likely. Should his physical state allow it, there is no excuse for United’s winger extraordinaire to lit up the biggest stage this summer.
The Sweden defender is United’s most questioned defender – always on the tip of critics tongue, waiting to pounce on any mistake. The truth is that most of it is unwarranted. But he will want to prove his doubters wrong with a good tournament for Sweden.
Lindelöf went into the 2018 World Cup as a Manchester United ‘flop’. He had endured a horrendous first campaign at United under José Mourinho but proved his worth in Russia, where he helped guide Sweden to the quarter-finals.
His performances that summer gave Mourinho the confidence to start him in the Premier League, which has eventually led to him becoming a regular for Solskjær. The 26-year-old will want to have a similar impact on his United future this time around but will face a tough first test. Sweden are set to kick off their bid for a good tournament against Spain on June 14.