England v Germany: 5 changes Gareth Southgate needs to make for Nations League clash

Jude bellingham in action for England

After another disappointing loss to Italy in their previous Nations League match, England has one more shot to record a win and get some World Cup momentum at the expense of rivals Germany.

The German’s will be in no mood for handing out favours though and Gareth Southgate‘s men will need to be at their best.

GiveMeSport presents the five changes Southgate needs to make in the upcoming match against Germany:

1. Southgate should use Tomori in a big international game

One of the shocks from the Italy game was the absence of centre-back Fikayo Tomori, who has been showcasing his talent for AC Milan in both the UEFA Champions League and Serie A, playing week in and week out.

His familiarity with Italian opposition left England fans in shock at the fact that he wasn’t in the starting XI. 

BURTON UPON TRENT, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 22: Fikayo Tomori of England reacts during a training session at St George’s Park on September 22, 2022 in Burton upon Trent, England. England will play their Nations League Group C match against Italy on September 23, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Instead, Southgate went for what he is used to and what he saw as reliable in Harry Maguire. The choice of Maguire left fans in shock due to him not being a regular feature for Manchester United in weeks.

Therefore, with nothing but bragging rights to play for Southgate should give Tomori the run-out and allow him to have 75 to a full 90 minutes on the pitch at Wembley.

2. Mix up the attack

England hasn’t scored from open play since March. Therefore instead of playing the same front free that we are used to seeing play, maybe try something a little different with England already being relegated to League B. It might not be a bad idea to test out a brand new front three.

Every England fan knows that Harry Kane will be the first name on the team sheet at the World Cup, but does he need to play this game?

BURTON UPON TRENT, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 20: Ivan Toney of England participates during a training session at St George’s Park on September 20, 2022 in Burton upon Trent, England. England will play their Nations League Group C match against Italy on September 23, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

The introduction of Ivan Toney could be a game changer as he will be hungry for his first international goal after showcasing fine form at Brentford this season, where he has five Premier League goals in just seven appearances. 

Rather than tip-toeing around, this is the first opportunity to see how he copes against one of Europe’s best.

3. Try a different formation

Southgate has become comfortable with the 5-3-2 with the full-backs acting as wingers. 

However, Harry Kane could be more effective with a strike partner. Converting the formation to a 4-2-4 or 4-4-2 could open up different options for Southgate’s side and produce more goals from open play.

Italy v England: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 3
MILAN, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 23: Harry Kane of England in action during the UEFA Nations League League A Group 3 match between Italy and England at San Siro on September 23, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

England called nine defenders up but playing four at the back could make the defenders a lot more comfortable while letting more attacking options stay forward.

4. Utilise Jude Bellingham

Gareth Southgate has been using Jude Bellingham in this 5-3-2/ 3-4-3 formation as a holding midfielder, but it hasn’t been seeing positive results.

However, if Southgate resorted to switching roles and having Bellingham play a box-to-box/ more attacking role, especially against Germany, more chances could be created.

MILAN, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 23: Jude Bellingham of England in action during the UEFA Nations League League A Group 3 match between Italy and England at San Siro on September 23, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

To do this, could mean a tweak in formation, but having Bellingham playing where he is comfortable, especially against familiar opposition, could be a game-changer for the Three Lions.

If Bellingham is allowed the freedom to move with the ball and attack, it could be a great battle between himself and Jamal Musiala tonight.

5. Add more creativity

England has been dominating possession in their Nations League game, but not scoring a goal in open play for over 500 minutes is worrying, especially with the World Cup around the corner.

Another creative addition in the centre of the park could be the missing piece of the puzzle, someone to play the risky pass and rely on the defence to sweep up if needs be.

England’s short passing play keeps the game under control, but the safety element is what could be diminishing the number of chances England gets, causing a drought in goals. 

James Ward Prowse applauds the fans
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 06: James Ward-Prowse of Southampton applauds their fans after the final whistle of the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on August 06, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

Players who could fix the problem could be James Ward Prowse or even changing the role of Jude Bellingham.

More creativity or seeing something new could give fans more optimism heading into the World Cup in winter.

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