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A look at Gareth Southgate’s selection dilemmas before Euro 2020 quarter-final

By July 1, 2021No Comments

England are preparing for Saturday’s Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine with Gareth Southgate having a considerable amount to ponder on the selection front.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the Three Lions boss’ potential headaches ahead of the clash in Rome.

– Does Southgate have any players unavailable for the match?

As things stand, it appears England have no major injury concerns and nobody is suspended following the 2-0 last-16 win against Germany on Tuesday – although something that may well affect selection is that there are four players who, having picked up a yellow card during the tournament, would be banned for the semi-final if they were shown another against Ukraine and Southgate’s men got through.

– Who are the quartet on a booking?

A look at Gareth Southgate’s selection dilemmas before Euro 2020 quarter-final PLZ Soccer
Midfielders Kalvin Phillips (centre) and Declan Rice are among four England players on a booking (Mike Egerton/PA)

Midfield duo Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice, and defender Harry Maguire, all starters and solid performers against Germany, were each given yellow cards in that match, while playmaker Phil Foden, an unused substitute on Tuesday, got one during the group stage.

– So who could step in in midfield?

Jordan Henderson looks a likely option if change to the midfield is made, with the fit-again, experienced Liverpool captain having come on in each of the last two matches. Mason Mount, who started the first two games of the campaign before self-isolating, and then staying on the bench on Tuesday, might be brought back into the team. Eighteen-year-old Jude Bellingham is another who could be utilised in midfield.

– What about at the back?

A look at Gareth Southgate’s selection dilemmas before Euro 2020 quarter-final PLZ Soccer
Harry Maguire was one of the three players yellow-carded in the win against Germany (Nick Potts/PA)

If Southgate opts to leave out Maguire and bring in another centre-back, Tyrone Mings would seem the most obvious candidate, having started the first two games in Maguire’s absence through injury. There is then a broader call in terms of whether Southgate should again play a three-man defence as he did against Germany, or revert to four across the back, as used while achieving three clean sheets in the group stage.

– And what is the picture in attack?

While captain Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling look sure to retain their places after netting their first and third goals of the competition respectively on Tuesday, it appears there is more of a decision for Southgate to make in terms of who plays alongside them.

– Who does that involve?

It will be interesting to see what the manager does with regard to Bukayo Saka, who has started the last two matches and been lively, and Jack Grealish. Grealish replaced Saka in the 69th minute against Germany and subsequently had a hand in the creation of both goals. Foden’s booking has to be taken into account in terms of him potentially returning, while others Southgate may be contemplating bringing into the attack include Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho.