England team news: Gareth Southgate set to revert to back-three vs Germany

Gareth Southgate England manager

Gareth Southgate is reportedly set to abandon his winning Euro 2020 formula in England’s last-16 knockout clash against Germany. 

The Three Lions are set to take on Joachim Low’s erratic German side at Wembley this evening and intrigue over Southgate’s selection is rife in the hours building up until kick off. 

Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka gave England a new dimension in their final group game against Czech Republic, but both could return to the substitutes bench if reports emerging overnight are anything to go by.

According to The Daily Mail, Southgate is preparing to return to a back-three against Germany, a decision which may well have been influenced by Low’s use of that system at the tournament thus far.

England deployed a 3-5-2 formation to excellent effect at the 2018 World Cup, progressing to the semi-finals of the competition where they eventually lost to Croatia.

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However, the number of supremely talented attacking players in England’s roster has seen Southgate move away from that formation in favour of a less pragmatic 4-2-3-1 system in recent years, though that has conjured up its own set of attacking limitations.

Against Germany, though, Southgate is expected to step back in time and trust in the system that served England so well at their last major tournament, with Kyle Walker joining John Stones and Harry Maguire in the central defensive trio. 

Kieran Trippier has been struggling with a minor injury problem but could return to the starting XI for the first time since the opening game against Croatia in a right-wing-back role.

Meanwhile, Luke Shaw is likely to be selected on the left flank. 

Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice are expected to continue in central midfield while Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling will start in attack, which leaves one final spot for the likes of Mason Mount, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka to fight over. 

However, the report suggests that it is Foden and Saka, two naturally left-footed options, who are vying for an attack spot. 

Jack Grealish

When asked about the return of Mount and Ben Chilwell following their period of self isolation, Southgate suggested that the pre-match preparation has been difficult for the Chelsea duo. 

“The only times they have been able to join up with us are when there’s not full team training, so that’s the best basis to make the decision.

“It is really complicated because there is the physical periodisation that you would want for a game like this and then there is the tactical training and the meetings.

“They have had to be in a separate room and dial in on zoom.

“The whole experience for them is very difficult but they are young players who can get on with things well.”

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