Gareth Southgate's England eleven for his first game in October 2016 looks interesting now


Gareth Southgate has worked wonders since being appointed as England manager.

The Watford born manager guided his team to 26 points from their 10 World Cup qualifying games, meaning they earned their passage to Russia with ease.

And the Three Lions have gone from strength to strength this summer.

After needing a last minute goal from Harry Kane to dispatch Tunisia 2-1, England then dismantled Panama 6-1 to seal their progression to the last 16.

Southgate's men then saw off the challenge of both Colombia and Sweden, and now find themselves with a semi-final tie against Croatia.

Southgate and England are now on the brink of glory, and the 47-year-old deserves a lot of credit for the way he has transformed the national side.

But just how much has his England team changed?

Southgate took charge of the national side for the first time in October 2016, seeing off Malta in a 2-0 win.

And although that game was just under two years ago, the first XI has changed massively.

Take a look at the team he fielded that day below:


It's clear that Southgate has made some big changes. First and foremost, the formation has changed greatly.

Southgate played a 4-2-3-1 formation against Malta in what was, on paper, a very attacking side.

He has since reverted to a 3-5-2, sacrificing an attacking midfielder for a centre-back, which has given England a lot more solidity in the heart of the defence.

And the personnel that Southgate now calls upon has changed massively. Southgate has decided to pick players based on form over reputation, and that has produced good results.

Joe Hart and Wayne Rooney have been cast aside, while Ryan Bertrand, Theo Walcott and Daniel Sturridge have not been called up to the squad.

Although Gary Cahill would have been an integral figure at the heart of the defence in 2016, he has found himself on the bench in Russia.

Southgate has now chosen to field a much younger side, with players such as Jordan Pickford and Harry Maguire coming into the fold.

England's eleven in their World Cup quarter-final against Sweden illustrates just how much his side has changed:


That is some transformation.

Many considered Southgate to be a typical FA 'yes man' when he was appointed. Many perhaps expected him to make easy and conservative decisions instead of taking risks.

But that could not be further from the truth. 

Southgate has made bold decisions to cast aside Jack Wilshere, Rooney and Hart among others, and then replaced them with inexperienced players.

But this gamble has paid off, with England now contesting a World Cup semi-final against Croatia on Wednesday night.

Who would have thought he would enjoy this much success after his first game against Malta in October 2016?

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