Gary Neville has revealed that he would change England’s formation from 4-3-3 to 5-2-3 for their crunch Euro 2020 clash with Germany.
The historic rivals meet next Tuesday in the last 16 after securing progression from their respective groups. The Three Lions topped Group D, while Germany ended up second in Group F after a rollercoaster finale. Indeed, Joachim Low’s side faced an exit for much of Wednesday evening, but a 2-2 draw with Hungary spared their blushes.
England and Germany have shown their own strengths and weaknesses in the group stages.
Germany sprang back to life after defeat to France with a barnstorming 4-2 win over Portugal last Saturday.
England, meanwhile, controlled Croatia’s threat well in their opener but looked flat in a 0-0 draw with Scotland.
Taking to Twitter, Neville revealed the 10 outfield players he would pick if he was in England manager Gareth Southgate’s shoes.
In defence, Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire and John Stones would form a back three.
Wing-backs would therefore be in operation, with Chelsea’s Reece James on the right and Luke Shaw of Manchester United on the left.
Dependable duo Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips would start a fourth straight game together in midfield.
The decisions up front will cause debate, with Jack Grealish and Phil Foden both not making the cut. Instead, Bukayo Saka – who starred in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over the Czech Republic – would play with Raheem Sterling alongside Harry Kane.
Sterling has been England’s hero so far, scoring both winning goals in their two 1-0 victories.
Explaining his decisions, Neville said: “Wing backs to match up / Engage Germany’s.
“Saka and Sterling left higher in channels v Germany wide CB. Rice / Philips onto [Toni] Kroos/ [Ilkay] Gundagan. Thoughts?”
Neville faces England selection criticism
In response to his tweet, former England international Jack Wilshere wrote: “No Grealish or Foden. England’s most talented/creative…
“At least one has to play! Probably Grealish to help us retain ball and carry it up the pitch. Come on Gaz.”
England’s most recent meeting with Germany in a major tournament came in 2010, when Frank Lampard was famously denied a long-range strike after the referee ruled the ball did not cross the line.
Ironically, that match also came in the last 16 and the sides will meet 11 years and two days after that controversial clash.