After a long wait, the European Championships are finally here.

Twelve months later than planned, England kicked off their Euro 2020 campaign against Croatia at Wembley.

And it is just days to go until the massive match-up between the Three Lions and Scotland in London.

In the spirit of the Euros, The Gazette has picked an alternative starting XI to Gareth Southgate’s, with one caveat - only players born in Hampshire are eligible.

Goalkeeper - Bradley Collins

Born: Southampton, 1997.

The current Barnsley goalkeeper, Bradley Collins helped his team reach the play-offs of the championship last season before they were narrowly beaten by Swansea in the semi-finals.

Andover Advertiser: @cfcunofficial (Chelsea Debs) London, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons@cfcunofficial (Chelsea Debs) London, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Right back – Francis Benali

Born: Southampton, 1968.

It would be a crime not to pick Southampton club legend Francis Benali who spent most of his career with his boyhood club, notching up 311 appearances. Since hanging up his boots, Benali has been awarded an MBE for services to cancer patients in the UK after completing five ironman endurances in seven days, raising £1 million.

Andover Advertiser: Francis BenaliFrancis Benali

Centre-back – Calum Chambers

Born: Petersfield, 1995.

Another product of Southampton’s academy, Calum Chambers has made 73 appearances for Arsenal since his move in 2014. On loan at Fulham in the 2019-20 season, he suffered a cruciate ligament injury which put him out for the rest of the season however he returned to make his first league appearance against Burnley on 6 March 2021. Here’s to hoping he remains fit to play in this alternative universe.

Andover Advertiser: Calum Chambers (Photo: PA)Calum Chambers (Photo: PA)

Centre-back – Matt Targett

Born: Eastleigh, 1995.

Ordinarily a left back but with competition for that area fierce in this team, Matt Targett had a stellar season with Aston Villa, playing every single game and helping them climb to a respectable 11th position in the table.

Andover Advertiser: Matt Targett (Photo: PA)Matt Targett (Photo: PA)

Left-back – Wayne Bridge

Born: Southampton, 1980.

With 36 games for England and 364 appearances for a whole host of premier league teams including Man City, Chelsea and Southampton, Wayne Bridge brings some international experience somewhat lacking in the defensive areas.

Andover Advertiser: Wayne Bridge during his time at Southampton.Wayne Bridge during his time at Southampton.

Defensive midfield – Jamie Redknapp

Born: Barton on Sea, 1973.

Jamie Redknapp made 17 appearances for England and over 300 in the Premier League. Technically skilful and creative but somewhat injury prone, he has the distinction as the person whose mishit cross was famously scorpion kicked by Rene Higuita in an international friendly between Colombia and England in 1995.

Andover Advertiser: Jamie Redknapp (Photo: PA)Jamie Redknapp (Photo: PA)

Right midfield – James Ward-Prowse

Extremely unfortunate to miss out on Gareth Southgate’s final squad for the Euros, hopefully James Ward-Prowse can take comfort in his call up to the Hampshire England XI.

His world-class free kick taking ability has him constantly compared to David Beckham, who is the only player in the premier league to have scored more direct free kicks than him. He has also played every premier league game for Southampton for the last two seasons and has made 17 appearances for his country, scoring one goal. Saints fans will note that he is normally played in the centre of the park, but he has on multiple occasions played as a right midfielder.

Andover Advertiser: James Ward-ProwseJames Ward-Prowse

Left midfield - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Born: Portsmouth, 1993.

Yet another player who cut his teeth in Saints academy, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has gone on to make 77 appearances for Liverpool and has 35 England caps. Adding some much-needed pace to the midfield ‘The Ox’, as he is known, is known for his technical and dribbling ability.

Andover Advertiser: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Photo: PA)Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Photo: PA)

Attacking midfield - Mason Mount

Born: Portsmouth, 1999.

The only player featured who has been called up to the Euros and in fact started for England on Sunday, Mason Mount is a shoo-in for this team.

Fresh from winning the Champions League with Chelsea, high hopes are pinned on him to help England to glory this summer. At only 22 years of age, he has already made 73 appearances for Chelsea and 16 for England.

Andover Advertiser: Mason Mount in action for England against Croatia on Sunday. Photo: PA.Mason Mount in action for England against Croatia on Sunday. Photo: PA.

Forward: Danny Ings

Born: Winchester, 1992.

The Southampton talisman is another player who may be wondering what might have been for the tournament this summer. A lethal finisher, he has been Saints’ top scorer for the last two seasons. He scored an over-head kick against Wales in The Nations League in his last appearance for England and were it not for injuries this season, he may well have been in Gareth Southgate’s plans this summer.

Andover Advertiser: Southampton's Danny Ings. Photo: PASouthampton's Danny Ings. Photo: PA

Forward: Terry Paine

Born: Winchester, 1939.

Terry Paine holds the record for the most Southampton appearances, playing for his boyhood club a whopping 713 times and scoring 160 goals. At 82, he is the oldest member of the squad, but we reckon in his prime he would easily get into this team. He was also part of the England’s 1966 world cup winning squad and thus the only player in this team to have won a major tournament with England.

Andover Advertiser: Terry PaineTerry Paine

So there we have it, with a mix of youth and experience and in a dynamic diamond formation, we present the Hampshire XI for the Euros…

The real question is, how far could this squad go in the Euros if all players were in their prime?

We’ll leave that up to you.