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Three Ways England Could Line Up Against Croatia

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Three Ways England Could Line Up Against Croatia

England finally kick off their eagerly awaited Euro 2020 campaign with an almighty clash against Croatia at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

With the Three Lions among the hotly-tipped favourites for this summer's European showpiece, Gareth Southgate's side will be eager to get off to the best possible start on home soil.

Southgate has some serious selection decisions to make as England aim to start on the front foot in a tournament in which victory is key in the three-match group stage.

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England are among the hotly-tipped favourites to win Euro 2020
England are among the hotly-tipped favourites to win Euro 2020

As of late, the Three Lions head coach has opted for a back four and is likely to continue with that defensive system given Harry Maguire's fitness issues.

With Trent Alexander-Arnold pulling out of the squad with a thigh injury, Brighton & Hove Albion centre-back Ben White was called up - and he could even start.

Further forward and in the heart of midfield, Kalvin Phillips and Jude Bellingham could get the nod alongside Declan Rice and Mason Mount - especially with question marks over Jordan Henderson's fitness.

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With England talisman and captain Harry Kane's spot in the starting line-up guaranteed, Southgate also has at his disposal the attacking prowess of Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden.

Here, we take a look at who Southgate is likely to choose as his opening starting team.

How we predict England will line up

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Formation: 4-3-3

Line-up: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Mings, Shaw; Phillips, Rice, Mount; Foden, Rashford, Kane.

We think this is the most likely line-up based on Southgate's choices in previous competitive games and friendlies. The obvious loser is Jack Grealish, which won't please fans but Southgate isn't one to pander to fans desires.

That said, how would England line-up with Grealish in the side?

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How England could line-up if Grealish plays

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Line-up: Pickford; Walker, Stones, White/Mings, Shaw; Rice, Phillips; Foden, Mount, Grealish; Kane.

If Southgate decides to play the Aston Villa man, a 4-2-3-1 formation seems the most likely option.

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In our side, we have Mount playing as one of the front four, but it's possible he could play in the midfield two as a more attacking option.

Neither Rashford nor Sterling makes this team, but moving Mount into midfield would make space for one of the pacy forwards in the front four.

It's an exciting line-up, but one Southgate seems unlikely to deploy without the experience of Maguire at the back.

How England could line-up with three at the back

Formation: 3-4-3

Line-up: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Mings; Trippier, Chilwell; Rice, Mount; Foden, Rashford, Kane

Southgate's other option is to play a three at the back, which he may favour due to Maguire's injury.

This means playing Chilwell and Trippier was wingbacks and Walker in the back three.

Reports suggest Shaw and Reece James played in a back three during practice sessions, though it's likely this was purely to familiarise them to the formation should they be called upon due to injuries.

England's squad in full

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Sam Johnstone, Jordan Pickford

Defenders: Ben Chilwell, Conor Coady, Reece James, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Ben White, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham, Jordan Henderson, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice

Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling

Topics: Euro 2020, Croatia, England, Gareth Southgate

Robert Mann
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