Trent in midfield, Stones’ fitness and Kane’s record – England talking points

England’s Euro 2024 campaign gets under way when they face Serbia in their Group C opener in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday.

Having reached the final of Euro 2020, Gareth Southgate’s side will be aiming to go one step further this time around.

Here, the PA news agency looks ahead to some of the major talking points ahead of the tie.

Euro 2024’s first “high-risk” fixture

Mark Bullingham speaks to the media
Mark Bullingham expects England fans to behave in Germany (Steve Welsh/PA)

Police in Germany have deemed the game as a “high-risk” meeting, with reports earlier in the week of travelling Serbian ultras making their way to the region.

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham has backed England fans to behave, while it has also been arranged for only low-alcohol beer to be sold in the vicinity of the Veltins Arena.

With England supporters travelling to a tournament en masse for the first time since 2016, all eyes will be on behaviour ahead of the game as much as the performance of the players on the pitch.

Kane keeps breaking records

Harry Kane points during England's defeat to Iceland at Wembley
Harry Kane is England captain (Mike Egerton/PA)

Already England’s all-time leading goalscorer, Harry Kane will earn another accolade when he leads the team out on Sunday.

The 30-year-old Bayern Munich striker will become the first man to captain England at four major tournaments, having also sported the armband at the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and en route to the Euro 2020 final.

“Being England captain and leading the boys out is probably the highest privilege I can have as a player, and I’ll never take that for granted. That feeling is truly one of a kind. It’s an honour to do it for a fourth time,” Kane said to

Stones ready to roll

john Stones, centre, controls the ball with his foot raised during England training in Germany
John Stones, centre, has shrugged off illness and injury (Adam davy/PA)

Manchester City and England defender John Stones has fought off injury and illness to be ready for the opening game.

With regular centre-back partner Harry Maguire missing the tournament through injury, having Stones available takes on even more importance for Southgate.

Stones was forced off at half-time in the friendly defeat to Iceland before missing training through sickness once the squad were in Germany, although he is now set to start in Gelsenkirchen.

Mitro to make his mark?

Aleksandar Mitrovic runs while playing for Serbia
Aleksandar Mitrovic is a dangerman for Serbia (Mike Egerton/PA)

If Stones does play, he and his defensive colleague will be tasked with keeping out former Fulham and Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

A thorn in the side of many Premier League backlines, the 29-year-old now plies his trade with Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Hilal.

Mitrovic also boasts an impressive international hit-rate and is Serbia’s record goalscorer with 58 goals in 91 caps.

The middle men

Trent Alexander-Arnold stretches to control the ball during England's defeat to Iceland
Trent Alexander-Arnold could start in midfield (Mike Egerton/PA)

Picking a partner for Declan Rice in midfield is arguably Southgate’s biggest dilemma ahead of the opening match.

Reports suggest Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold has won the battle to start, having been shifted from a full-back role when playing for England in the past year.

With recognised midfielder Conor Gallagher and impressive Manchester United teenager Kobbie Mainoo available, it will be a big call for Southgate if he does indeed plump for Alexander-Arnold alongside mainstay Rice.