Five Serbia danger men that England must watch out for – including Arsenal target – Football News

Five Serbia danger men that England must watch out for – including Arsenal target

Serbia have several key players, including Dusan Vlahovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic (Image: Getty)

England face a tricky test when they begin their Euro 2024 campaign against Serbia. The Three Lions are heavy favourites to start with a victory tonight (Sunday) in Gelsenkirchen, but Gareth Southgate has several reasons to be wary of Serbia.

The absences of Harry Maguire and a fully fit left-back have highlighted weaknesses in England’s defence that Serbia will look to exploit. Under Dragan Stojkovic’s management, the Eagles have proven to be a threat from set pieces and are surprisingly spoilt for choice in attacking positions.

Many may have forgotten Serbia’s chaotic 2022 World Cup campaign, where the team exited at the group stage after throwing away leads against Cameroon (3-3) and Switzerland (3-2). If lessons have been learned, England will face a more pragmatic side with five key danger men Express Sport has identified at their disposal.

Aleksandar Mitrovic (Al Hilal)

The striker is the player that England fans will likely fear most when he lines up against the Three Lions. The 29-year-old enjoyed a prolific final season with Fulham in the Premier League, scoring 14 goals in 24 league games, before joining the growing list of star names in the Saudi Pro League last summer.

Serbia’s vice-captain netted 40 goals in 43 games for his new club and has also scored six times in his last 10 caps for his country. Mitrovic’s aerial presence will be a big concern for England’s makeshift backline, particularly given Serbia’s prowess at set pieces.

Andrija Zivkovic of Serbia posing for Euro 2024

Andrija Zivkovic could play as an attacking wingback against England (Image: Getty)

Andrija Zivkovic (PAOK)

Despite the other star names that will appear on this list, the PAOK talisman will be key to Serbia’s chance of success. The winger scored 19 and assisted a further 14 goals for the Greek giants this season but a lack of orthodox right-backs often sees Zivkovic operate as a right wingback for Serbia, with Juventus’ Filip Kostic on the other flank.

Serbia have toyed with the idea of deploying a back four, pushing Zivkovic into his natural position, to provide more solidity but are more likely to field a back five against England. His lack of defensive nous is something that either Phil Foden or Anthony Gordon will look to expose, but Zivkovic also has a similar opportunity to punish England’s stand-in left-back – a crucial battle awaits.

Dusan Vlahovic (Juventus)

It is not only Mitrovic that England’s defence has to worry about. After a difficult start to his time in Turin, the striker scored 18 goals in 38 games for Juventus, prompting links with a move to Arsenal this summer.

Vlahovic boasts a similar strike rate for Serbia, with 13 goals in 27 caps, and could partner Mitorivc up front, if his manager favours a 3-5-2 formation. This tactical conundrum and multiple attacking options means that AC Milan striker Luka Jovic will be forced to settle for a place on the bench.

Dusan Tadic playing for Serbia

Dusan Tadic remains a key player for Serbia (Image: Getty)

Dusan Tadic (Fenerbahce)

The Serbia captain has enjoyed the best years of his career since leaving Southampton in 2018. Now aged 36, Tadic bid farewell to his successful stint at Ajax and joined Fenerbahce last summer, who incredibly missed out on winning the league title with 99 points.

The influential attacking midfielder registered 32 goal contributions across 52 games and will hope to have a similar effect on Serbia. He will sit in the No.10 role, looking to thread passes through to Mitrovic and Serbia’s other forward players. Having 108 caps to his name, Tadic is someone who could easily undo an untested England defence.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Al Hilal)

Milinkovic-Savic arrived at Al Hilal a month earlier than his countryman Mitrovic. The 29-year-old had forged a notable reputation as a talented midfielder during his eight-year stint with Lazio, often touted with a possible Premier League move.

Instead, he opted for Al Hilal, where he scored 12 goals and assisted 17 in his debut season. Milinkovic-Savic has been a mainstay of the Serbia side, helping to dictate play and create chances from a deeper midfield role than Tadic.