Gareth Southgate has come under fire for his recent England team selections.
The Three Lions have struggled to score goals since reverting to a 3-4-3 formation and there are fears that Southgate’s pragmatism will prove costly at next summer’s Euro 2020 tournament.
So what changes should Southgate make to his starting XI? Well, the general view is that a back-three simply doesn’t benefit the majority of England’s players.
The England boss would perhaps be best served utilising a playing system that the majority of his squad operate in at club level.
That theory got us thinking about how the Three Lions would line up under the leadership of the Premier League’s ‘top six’ managers.
It wasn’t easy creating the six different lineups, tailoring to each manager’s needs, but we think we’ve done a pretty decent job.
Be prepared for some club bias, though…
1. Jurgen Klopp
XI: Nick Pope, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Harry Maguire, Ben Chilwell, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mason Mount, Jadon Sancho, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling.
The Liverpool manager loves a midfield three of workhorses, so we’ve opted for Mount and Oxlade-Chamberlain – two players renowned for their pressing – next to Reds captain Henderson.
2. Pep Guardiola
XI: Nick Pope, Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Ben Chilwell, Jordan Henderson, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling.
The reason we’ve included Mings in Guardiola’s XI is because the Manchester City manager’s playing system is heavily reliant on the presence of a left-footed centre-back.
One of the key changes from our Klopp team is in midfield, Foden and Grealish taking up the positions famously occupied by Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva at the height of the Guardiola era – a very exciting team on paper.
3. Jose Mourinho
XI: Nick Pope, Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, Harry Maguire, Ben Chilwell, Declan Rice, Mason Mount, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford.
Mourinho seems to see something in Dier that we football fans don’t, so we had to include the Spurs defender in the Portuguese’s England XI.
Like Klopp, we’ve opted for a more workman-like midfield for Mourinho, with Rashford operating in the ‘Heung-min Son role’ alongside Kane.
4. Frank Lampard
XI: Nick Pope, Reece James, Joe Gomez, Harry Maguire, Ben Chilwell, Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, Jadon Sancho, Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane.
The Chelsea manager is one of Mount’s biggest fans, so the versatile midfielder slots in as the main creator in our Lampard-themed England XI.
James also features at right-back, with Sancho, Kane and Sterling resuming their roles as a front three. A pretty well-balanced team.
5. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
XI: Dean Henderson, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Luke Shaw, Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish, Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane.
Okay, there’s A LOT of club bias here. Henderson, Wan-Bissaka and Shaw for England? Yeah, we hope that doesn’t come to fruition anytime soon.
Although, the inclusion of Grealish as the team’s creator-in-chief behind fellow Manchester United target Sancho, Kane and Rashford makes Solskjaer’s XI rather enticing overall.
6. Mikel Arteta
XI: Nick Pope, Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, Ben Chilwell, Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Given Arteta’s fondness of playing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – an out-and-out striker by trade – on the left, who’s to say he wouldn’t do the exact same with Calvert-Lewin?
We were initially going to include Arsenal favourite Bukayo Saka over Chilwell at left-wing back, but that was probably taking it a little too far…
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