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Gareth Southgate 'likely' to make team selection decision for Slovakia game that will divide opinion

Gareth Southgate 'likely' to make team selection decision for Slovakia game that will divide opinion

England will face Slovakia in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday.

Gareth Southgate is 'likely' to refrain from making wholesale changes to his team for England's last-16 clash against Slovakia, according to a new report, with one change expected.

After an underwhelming group stage campaign, many have urged Southgate to use in-form trio Cole Palmer, Anthony Gordon and Kobbie Mainoo for Sunday's game in Gelsenkirchen.

Palmer, who came into the tournament with 22 Premier League goals to his name in 2023/24, was England's biggest threat after being brought on with 20 minutes to go against Slovenia.

Having been one of Newcastle United's best performers last season, Anthony Gordon's lack of minutes continue to be a talking point, while Kobbie Mainoo keeps on proving why he is ready to make the step up.

In fact, Mainoo is in line to start this weekend's knockout stage game alongside Declan Rice, according to the Daily Mail, but he will be the only expected change.

The report says Mainoo is 'leading the race' to partner Rice but other than that midfield switch, Gareth Southgate is 'preparing to keep faith' with the majority of his preferred XI.

That means the likes of Palmer and Gordon could have to watch from the bench again.

After facing calls to switch things up, here's how fans on social media reacted to the latest report.

One said: "Fixes barely anything. Need to get the left side sorted out and balance the team properly. It’s fine playing Mainoo but the bigger problems are on the left side."

A second wrote: "Southgate really hasn't got the bottle to drop his favourites."

A third commented: "Why am I shocked. Not a lot changed with Mainoo until the other changes came. He’s better than Gallagher but still. At least it’s only Slovakia."

A fourth said: "I’ve defended Southgate more than most but he cannot go with the same left hand side again," while a fifth added: "Hoping that Foden/Bellingham/Saka/Kane do a madness isn't an attacking plan. Why on earth does he think that the only issue is who sits next to Rice?"

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

Declan Rice was given a rest on Thursday but as mentioned earlier, the midfielder is expected to be fit for Slovakia. Kieran Trippier, meanwhile, has been absent from training with a slight calf issue.

In fact, Trippier hasn’t trained fully over the past 48 hours, meaning Southgate will have to make a late fitness check on the defender. Ezri Konsa and Joe Gomez are on stand-by.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: England, Gareth Southgate, Euro 2024, Kobbie Mainoo