England have made it to the Euro 2020 quarter-finals by beating Germany and manager Gareth Southgate is faced with more selection headaches.
Southgate’s plan, switching to a back three to counteract the German wing-backs, worked perfectly at Wembley but will he stick with that system when they take on Ukraine in Rome?
The England boss also has some suspension and injury problems to think about. The likes of Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips, Harry Maguire and Phil Foden are one booking away from missing a potential semi-final, so Southgate may be tempted to rotate.
Sportsmail‘s experts predict which line-up Southgate will pluck for when England travel to the Italian capital this week…
England made it to the Euro 2020 quarter-finals by beating Germany 2-0 with three at the back
Gareth Southgate has plenty of selection headaches ahead of the last eight tie with Ukraine
(4-2-3-1) Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Phillips; Foden, Grealish, Sterling; Kane
The 3-4-3 system worked against Germany, but Gareth Southgate should revert to a back four. I want a line-up which doesn’t scream caution and can take control.
On the right of defence is the Manchester City connection with Kyle Walker and John Stones, with United team-mates Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw on the left.
Declan Rice can provide protection in front while Kalvin Phillips is more box-to-box.
And imagine Ukraine’s fear if they saw Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling in behind Harry Kane…
Jack Grealish (right) made a difference off the bench against Germany so could be picked
(4-2-3-1) Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Henderson; Saka, Mount, Sterling; Kane
It makes no sense for Southgate to stay with the back three that worked so well against Germany.
That was a tactical tweak specifically designed to neutralise Germany’s dangerous wing backs.
Dropping one of your defenders allows you to play another attacker, which should be Mason Mount.
Jordan Henderson should also play because he would provide fresh legs against an Ukraine side who went to extra-time on Tuesday, while it’s impossible to leave out Bukayo Saka after his displays in England’s last two matches.
Will Bukayo Saka (left) get another vote of confidence by Southgate (right) after two starts?
(4-2-3-1) Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Phillips, Henderson; Foden, Mount, Sterling; Kane
England will be expected to dominate possession against Ukraine, so surely there is no need for Southgate to play a back five again.
Expect Mount to walk straight back into the team after his period of isolation, while this game is the perfect opportunity to give Henderson his first start of the Euros with Rice and Phillips on bookings ahead of a possible semi-final.
Saka deserves to play again, but with Ukraine likely to sit deeper, the game could be tailor-made for Foden to return to the starting XI.
Jordan Henderson (right) could be drafted in as Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips risk bans
(4-2-3-1) Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Henderson; Foden, Mount, Sterling; Kane
Southgate got his tactics spot-on against Germany by matching their shape to stifle their attacking wing backs, but Ukraine present a different challenge and more creativity will be needed.
England often struggle to break down dogged opponents, so Foden and Mount should be recalled to provide more quality on the ball, with Kieran Trippier missing out in a return to a back four.
Sterling and Kane have proven indispensable up front, while Grealish and Saka are great options off the bench.
Phil Foden has been unused by England in their last two games but could return for Ukraine
(4-2-3-1) Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Henderson, Rice; Foden, Mount, Sterling; Kane
Go for the jugular! A recall for Foden, who will be bursting to impress, while Mount is back from isolation to buzz about behind Kane.
Henderson is the perfect man to dominate the middle of the park. Rice and Phillips are both on bookings but don’t get too cute, Gareth. Rice is the better player so pick him.
The back four picks itself with Trippier carrying a knock.
Saka and Grealish — not to mention Jude Bellingham and Jadon Sancho — are wonderful options off the bench.
Mason Mount has also sat out the last two games after going into quarantine this past week
(4-3-3) Pickford; Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Henderson, Rice, Mount; Foden, Kane, Sterling
It was Marcus Rashford who said after England’s final warm-up game that a squad, not a team, was required to win this tournament and now is the time for Southgate to utilise it.
Henderson must start against Ukraine and Mount has to come back as well.
England can impose themselves on this fixture. Saka has been brilliant but let’s give him a rest and allow Foden to impart his magic.
We haven’t forgotten about Grealish, either — the ace in the pack can be played at any point in the second half.
Kieran Trippier is an injury doubt but could get another start after a good display on Tuesday