This team compiled of players not selected for their countries at this summer’s European Championships could realistically win the competition!
Below, we’ve picked our Ultimate XI of players who represent one of the 24 countries who’ve qualified for Euro 2016, and the reason they won’t be there. Two Liverpool players make the team for good measure!
GK) Loris Karius – Germany
Germany have the likes of Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Bernd Leno backing up Manuel Neuer, so it’s no surprise our summer signing hasn’t yet got the call-up. He was voted the second best keeper in the Bundesliga last season though, so if he starts life on Merseyside well, it hopefully won’t be long!
DR) Dani Carvajal – Spain
Real Madrid’s right-back picked up an injury in the Champions League Final, meaning Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin has been called up in his place.
DL) Philipp Lahm – Germany
Still probably the best fullback in the world, Lahm has retired from international duty but would walk into any side on the planet if availbale – at right or left back.
DC) Mamadou Sakho – France
Poor Sakho was suspended without warrant by UEFA after a positive test for a substance that shouldn’t have been on the banned list. It cost him an appearance in the Europa League Final, and now selection for a tournament in his home country – when he would have otherwise been starting.
DC) Vincent Kompany – Belgium
One of the best in the business when fit, fitness problems have cost Belgium’s captain his place at the tournament this summer.
MC) Marco Verratti – Italy
Italy’s best player is missing the tournament injured, which is a shame for Antonio Conte’s side which lacks much of the class of yesteryear.
MC) Ilkay Gundogan – Germany
The superb midfielder is missing the tournament for Germany with an injury, but should be fit for a transfer to Manchester City before the end of the season. We hope he doesn’t adapt to Premier League football too quickly.
AMR) Ousmane Dembele – France
Such is France’s strength in depth, they’ve left wonderkid winger Dembele at home, despite his 12 Ligue 1 goals and five assists.
AML) Marco Reus – Germany
Missed the World Cup with injury, and is now missing the Euros as well, after Joachim Loew chose not to take a risk on his fitness.
FC) Diego Costa – Spain
Vincent Del Bosque doesn’t fancy Chelsea’s Brutish forward, who will have to watch his adopted country on television this term. Instead, he’s chosen 35-year-old Aritz Aduriz!
FC) Karim Benzema – France
The best player not going to the Euros is Benzema, who has been banned from participation after allegedly blackmailing a team-mate over a sex-tape. Wow!