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Thursday, 24 February, 2000, 11:07 GMT
Keegan's Euro squad takes shape

Heskey: Man of the match

Kevin Keegan says he has already decided on 18 of the 22 England players he will take to this summer's European Championships.

Keegan must name a 35-man squad at the start of May but must whittle it down to 22 by the time the finals start in Holland and Belgium in June.

Dennis Wise was instrumental in just about everything we did and he has given us something extra - I take my hat off to him
Kevin Keegan
That means England's fringe players have two months to fight it out on the Premiership stage for the final four berths.

Keegan was pleased with the experimental 5-3-2 line-up he fielded in the 0-0 draw with Argentina on Wednesday.

Kieron Dyer, Dennis Wise, Jason Wilcox and man-of-the-match Emile Heskey were the main men on trial.

All performed well and looked to have booked their place at Euro 2000.

Keegan said he thought Chelsea midfielder Wise was 'just superb' and provided he avoids disicplinary problems in the next couple of months, would appear favourite to take over the midfield ball-winning role from former captain Paul Ince.

Beckham: Limped off injured but suffered no permanent damage
"It looked like he'd been there forever and that's great credit to him," said Keegan.

He had a burden of responsibility and he carried that well.

"In the first-half especially he was instrumental in just about everything we did and he has given us something extra - something we haven't had before in my time - and I take my hat off to him."

Ince's place at the finals must now be in doubt.

Heskey won praise for his constant menace up front but it was the signs of a promsiign understanding with strike partner Alan Shearer which will have most pleased Keegan.

Keegan saw many good signs for the future in England's 0-0 draw
The forward line up looks certain to produce Keegan's biggest Euro 2000 dilemma, with Heskey, Shearer, Kevin Phillips, Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham as well as the injured Liverpool duo of Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler all worthy of selection.

Leeds winger Jason Wilcox also caught the eye on the problematic left flank but Keegan will still be looking forward to the recovery of Chelsea left-footer Graeme Le Saux.

On the opposite flank Keegan apparently favours a return for Manchester United's midfielder David Beckham, who played in a central role at Wembley on Wednesday.

"There were pluses," said Keegan.

"He enjoys playing in there and enjoys a challenge.

Keown: As solid as they get
"He's the best player in the world in my opinion out on the right. I had a look at something else.

"I'm not saying he'll stay there but I know he can play there - and he can play even better than he did in this game."

England's robustness at the back could also see Keegan opt to adopt the wing-back system as his long-term strategy.

Back three Sol Capbell, Martin Keown and Gareth Southgate negated the threat of Argentina's feared strike force and Keegan also has the return of Arsenal centre-back Tony Adams to look forward to.

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See also:
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Heskey shines in Wembley draw
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Argentine test for Keegan
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Heskey and Wise named for England
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McIlroy calls up Man Utd reserve
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End-to-end Hendrie fires winner
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We must perform - Keegan
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Beckham axed by Ferguson
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Football's flawed superstar?
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Keegan comfort for Beckham
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Shearer looks to future not past
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