I’ve been tasked again with getting into the mind of Mr.Southgate and to see how England will line up against Croatia in their opening game of the Euros. Not an easy one to predict this as I think a lot of factors will come into play in the decision-making!
With England losing in the semi-final to Croatia in 2018, that will 100% be in the mind of Southgate when it comes to picking his team. Add that to the fact it looks like Harry Maguire will be missing the first game, the big question will be the formation. Will he play a four at the back? Or stick to the back three that he likes? If so then who will replace Maguire? Will he play Walker as a right-sided centre-back or even Luke Shaw at left centre-back? And with the formation issues, can he play Mount, Foden, and Grealish in the same team? Will Henderson make it in the middle? So many dilemmas.
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After a lot of thought, you can see how I think England will line up against Croatia below:
I’ve gone with the 3-4-2-1 formation with the wingbacks obviously dropping into a five at the back when defending. With Maguire missing out I think Southgate will feel he will have to play three at the back. I don’t think Stones or Mings have the discipline to be the leader at the back in Maguire’s absence. Therefore Walker will play the right-sided centre back role alongside the pair.
With it being the opening game, and Southgate tending to prefer a more solid lineup than a fluid attacking side. The team will be set up to be more solid in the back, and that’s why I think Trippier will fill in the right wing-back role. Luke Shaw has had a phenomenal season for United and although Chilwell is also a competent player in that role, I just think Luke Shaw deserves the nod and is better in a defensive capacity.
The midfield was a tough one. If Henderson is fit to play then he will start as his experience of big tournament games will be vital. He is also a leader in the middle of the park. Rice will definitely line up alongside him providing a conservative but solid midfield pairing.
Harry Kane obviously picks himself, so that leaves the two positions just in behind the Englan captain. I think Southgate will go with Mount and Grealish, with Foden on the bench. I think Grealish at the moment is the most exciting player when wearing an England shirt. Over the past few games, anything good has gone through him so he has played his way into the starting eleven. Mount will get the nod over Foden because he has the slight edge in regards to experience. Foden will shine in the remaining group games.
So there we have it. That is how I think England will line up against Croatia on Sunday!
Please let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree, and if you disagree, who will play and where?
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