England face Czech Republic in their final Euro 2020 group game on Tuesday night, knowing that anything other than defeat will secure them a place in the knockout stages.
Manager Gareth Southgate could have some important personnel decisions to make after a disappointing and rather lacklustre performance against Scotland in the last game, with England fans calling for more of the squad’s attacking talent to be given a chance.
Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell are ruled out because they must self-isolate after coming into close contact with Scotland’s Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for COVID-19 after the 0-0 draw at Wembley, but there could be a return for Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire after injury.
Here’s a look at the starting XI Southgate could pick…
Jordan Pickford (GK): Yet to concede a goal in England’s opening two games and made a particularly crucial save to keep it that way against Scotland last time out.
Kyle Walker (RB): Could return to the starting XI in favour of Reece James.
John Stones (CB): Hit the post against the Scots and could now resume his 2018 partnership with Harry Maguire after so far playing alongside Tyrone Mings.
Harry Maguire (CB): Having not played since early May because of ankle ligament trouble, this was earmarked as the game the Manchester United skipper could return even before the tournament began.
Luke Shaw (LB): expected to keep his place after coming into the side in place of Kieran Trippier, who had started the Croatia game out of his favoured position.
Jordan Henderson (CM): The Liverpool captain hasn’t played a competitive game since February because of injury, but there have been positive noises from the England camp surrounding his recovery and fitness and now could be the time to replace Kalvin Phillips, who was poor against Scotland.
Declan Rice (CM): Fills an important role at the base of the midfield. The problem so far has been that England have lacked creativity in central areas with a Rice/Phillips partnership.
Phil Foden (AM): With Mason Mount ruled out because of isolation protocols, there could be a change in role for Foden – who has looked bright in patches during England’s first two games.
Raheem Sterling (RW): Many are calling for Jadon Sancho to be afforded minutes, while Marcus Rashford can perhaps count himself unlucky to be watching on from the sidelines. But Sterling is a favourite of Southgate’s, and it’s likely he’ll switch sides rather than being left out of the team.
Harry Kane (ST): So far a shadow of the player that scored six goals at the 2018 World Cup and walked away with the Golden Boot. But responsibility for his lack of touches and involvement against Scotland also lies with the rest of the team as well. Southgate has already confirmed he’ll start.
Jack Grealish (LW): Aston Villa’s talisman is yet to start a game at Euro 2020, but his half-hour cameo against Scotland showed he has the forward drive to make a real difference.
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