Ahead of conflict with Croatia, many questions cling over England

Ahead of England’s Euro 2020 opener on Sunday towards Croatia, one of many few certainties about their lineup is that it’s going to take the knee earlier than kickoff.

However, the formation, tactical method and personnel that supervisor Gareth Southgate will utilise after that anti-racist gesture are principally unknown – and never due to some masterful secrecy in his camp.

Usually, there are one or two query marks heading right into a match opener however within the case of Southgate’s England, there are sufficient for a full night of the pub quiz.

Harry Kane will lead the road and captain the staff and John Stones will play within the centre of defence however past these two certainties, there are solely probables and possibles.

The harm to central defender Harry Maguire has given Southgate his greatest headache – does he belief the inexperienced Aston Villa centre-half Tyrone Mings sufficient to accomplice him with Stones in a traditional again 4?

If not, he’ll in all probability revert to a few on the again and play with wing-backs.

With Jordan Henderson solely simply coming back from harm, Declan Rice is the obvious starter within the holding midfield space, however will he fly solo or with a accomplice reminiscent of Kalvin Phillips?

The most enjoyable a part of the England staff is the inventive midfield space. Phil Foden, Mason Mount and Jack Grealish are all thrilling skills, however is Southgate courageous sufficient to play all three collectively?

And then there are Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling, thought-about certainties a yr in the past to play both aspect of Kane however who’ve each been under their finest in latest months.

“Whether we play with wingers in a 4-3-3, quantity 10s in a 3-4-3, with two wingers and a quantity 10 in a 4-2-3-1, we have got in these entrance slots very thrilling gamers who can win matches,” mentioned Southgate.

Normally the pre-tournament video games would give a clue to a coach’s considering however Southgate determined to relaxation his Manchester City and Chelsea gamers after they performed in final month’s Champions League last.

(With Reuters inputs)

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