Harry Maguire, Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho among the players Sky Sports writers would choose to play for England against the Czech Republic on Tuesday in the final game of Group D; Choose your England starting XI with our team selector
After a sluggish draw against Scotland, what changes should Gareth Southgate make for England vs the Czech Republic? The Sky Sports writers pick their XIs…
You can also pick your XI in the team selector at the bottom of the page.
Gerard Brand: Grealish and Maguire in, change the full-backs, and of course Kane stays!
A point would give Czech Republic top spot in Group D – if indeed that’s what they want – and I can see them sitting awfully deep at Wembley. That slightly negates the need for Raheem Sterling’s speed in behind, so it’s time for Jack Grealish. The Villa man loves the ball in tight spaces, and will win free-kicks all around the box, and I want to see Phil Foden up there with him.
Will it happen? Unlikely. But I’d argue this should be seen as an evening to gain confidence and get this, let’s be honest, sometimes capricious support back on side after Scotland. I have little doubt he’ll go for a Sterling, Marcus Rashford or Jadon Sancho in the knockout stages.
If Harry Maguire is going to play any part in the last 16 and beyond, he needs to play against Czech Republic. His first touch of a football since early May simply cannot be in a knockout environment, but if Maguire does play, Southgate is left with a difficult choice.
Tyrone Mings has been faultless in both games so far, but before the tournament, John Stones was seen as a shoo-in. Big call, but I can see Southgate dropping Mings. I’d bring in Kieran Trippier at right-back and Ben Chilwell at left-back.
The midfield won’t change, unless Jordan Henderson is given a start, but Kalvin Phillips should remain alongside Declan Rice and Mason Mount.
Oh, and Harry Kane stays. One goal, even off his backside or ear, will stop all this nonsense just in time for the knockout stages. It would be the perfect tonic, so give him the opportunity.
England (4-3-3): Pickford, Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Chilwell; Rice, Phillips, Mount; Grealish, Foden, Kane.
Richard Morgan: Recall Maguire and Chilwell, go to a three-man defence and push the wing backs on to provide width
England may be all but through to the round of 16 already, but Tuesday night’s Group D finale with the Czech Republic at Wembley will still decide who finishes top of the section and so should be viewed by Gareth Southgate as a knockout game.
No time to experiment, go with your best side, which firstly means a change of formation to 3-4-3 in order to get better use from one of the strong points of this England ream, their marauding full – or in this case – wing backs.
The influential Harry Maguire must return in central defence if he is to feature in the rest of the tournament, while the identity of the wing backs will be revealing. With Kyle Walker also returning alongside Maguire in a back three, that means Kieran Trippier and Ben Chilwell are my selections to provide some much-needed width to England’s attacking play.
The change in formation means Kalvin Phillips drops back to partner Declan Rice as holding midfielders in front of the back three, while it also makes for a tricky decision in who should partner the labouring Harry Kane up front.
Mason Mount gets the nod on the right of a front three after being one of the few players to impress against Scotland, with Raheem Sterling featuring on the left following his own eye-catching displays in England’s opening two matches.
England (3-4-3): Pickford; Chilwell, Maguire, Stones, Walker, Trippier, Rice, Phillips, Sterling, Kane, Mount
Peter Smith: Rest, rotate, refresh to get Kane firing and Maguire up to speed
Gareth Southgate made eight changes for England’s final group game at the 2018 World Cup, with defeat to Belgium handily sending his side into the easier side of the draw. The pathway of second or third place at these Euros isn’t quite as clearly more advantageous than finishing first – an easier last-16 game but one less match at Wembley and a tricky quarter-final regardless – but this final Group D game against Czech Republic should still be used to rest and refresh his squad with the knockouts in mind.
Whatever road England take into the next phase of the competition, they need to find a way to get more from Harry Kane. The creativity of Jack Grealish at No10 and the pace running beyond of Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford either side of him will ignite the captain’s campaign.
To incorporate those attackers, England can switch to the 4-2-3-1 they used in the warm-ups, with Harry Maguire coming in for Tyrone Mings in defence. It’s tough on the Aston Villa man but there’s no time for sentiment in a tournament and England need their match-short defensive leader up to speed for the last-16. A similar case could be made for Jordan Henderson replacing Kalvin Phillips.
Reece James and Ben Chilwell must be given encouragement to push forwards from full-back.
As for Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling – who scored a hat-trick against Czech Republic in qualifying – let’s not forget their Champions League final exertions. Rest up boys, we’ll need you in the next round.
England (4-2-3-1): Pickford, James, Stones, Maguire, Chilwell; Rice, Phillips; Sancho, Grealish, Rashford; Kane.
Oliver Yew: Maguire needs minutes and time is right for Grealish and Sancho, who can get Kane off the mark
Will Gareth Southgate stick or twist against Czech Republic?
With just a point needed to book a place in the last 16, I suspect Southgate will stick, but with Czech Republic just needing a point themselves to secure top spot in Group D, it may be the time to let England loose.
Starting at the back, Harry Maguire needs game time and he should get that in place of Tyrone Mings. That’s a difficult call as Mings has arguably not put a foot wrong in the tournament so far, but Maguire’s presence will be needed if England do get to the latter stages of this tournament so match fitness is required for the Man Utd defender. Meanwhile, at full back, Kieran Trippier should get the nod in his favoured position at right back, while ben Chilwell deserves the chance to stake his claim for the left back role.
As we move further forward, I expect Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips to get another chance in the middle of the park, but the bold move would be to include Jude Bellingham. The Borussia Dortmund star has the ability to carry the ball forward for England and inject some much-needed urgency into a midfield that put in a stagnant performance against Scotland. Also, much in the same vein as Maguire, look out for Jordan Henderson getting some minutes at some point during the game as he continues his return from injury.
In attack, we know Harry Kane is going to start after confirmation from Southgtae, but the question now is how you get the best out of him? Mason Mount should get another chance in the No 10 role, but Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden may get a rest to save them for another day.
Therefore, step forward Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho. Grealish has been the name on everyone’s lips and this could be the perfect time to give him a start. With Czech Republic expected to sit deep, Grealish’s ability in tight spaces could prove crucial. Throw in Sancho’s pace and trickery and the fresh pair could be just the tonic to get Kane firing again.
England (4-2-3-1): Pickford, Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Chilwell; Rice, Phillips, Mount; Grealish, Sancho, Kane.
Charlotte Marsh: Time to be bold, Gareth – Give Grealish, Sancho, Chilwell and Bellingham a chance
The Czech Republic have already proven to be worthy adversaries. Patrik Schick is matching Cristiano Ronaldo for goals at Euro 2020 (3) and England lost to the Czechs as recently as October 2019.
With that being said, and if he is fit, Harry Maguire has to return at the centre of defence. Ahead of the knockout rounds, he must be given minutes to avoid being a passenger at Euro 2020. It’s incredibly difficult to drop Tyrone Mings at the moment, so I won’t, but Gareth Southgate will likely stick with John Stones to partner Maguire.
At full-back, Kieran Tripper’s influence was missed against Scotland and with rotation in mind, Ben Chilwell should get his chance to stake a claim as England’s starting left-back after a difficult start to the tournament.
Moving into midfield, it could be time to unleash 17-year-old Jude Bellingham. Kalvin Phillips shone against Croatia but struggled on Friday. Bellingham provides a different option to try and open England up more. It would be a much-needed bold move from Southgate when moving the ball quicker in midfield is a vital area of improvement.
But where changes must occur the most is up front. While Harry Kane has already been confirmed as a starter against the Czechs, he will need something different to flank him – enter Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho.
German journalists and pundits on Twitter were shocked that Sancho did not come on against Scotland when England needed an injection of pace and energy. It’s hard to disagree with them and despite scoring the only goal of the tournament so far, Raheem Sterling could do with a rest of his own.
Phil Foden has made a good start to Euro 2020, but could not unlock the Scottish defence at Wembley. Grealish deserves his chance, making a good cameo on Friday and for me, has earned the right to start for England at a major tournament. Here’s hoping he can bring goals along for the ride.
England (4-3-3): Pickford, Trippier, Mings, Maguire, Chilwell; Rice, Bellingham, Mount; Grealish, Sancho, Kane.
Adam Bate: Minutes for Maguire, Henderson and Sancho needed before the knockout stages
Having only changed his full-backs so far this tournament, it seems likely that Gareth Southgate’s hope after beating Croatia was that another win against Scotland would allow him to rotate heavily against Czech Republic with his knockout line-up already clear.
Such an unconvincing performance last time out complicates things. Southgate has already stated that Harry Kane will start again, an indication that the England manager is more concerned with rhythm than rest right now. As a result, major changes seem unlikely.
This writer would prefer more adventure in the full-back positions given the personnel available, but keeping the back four compact appears to be a key principle for Southgate. He even volunteered the comparison with France’s defensive full-backs. It is the plan.
Abandoning it now would be an overreaction given that England are yet to concede a goal. Southgate is convinced that keeping things tight is the key to success in tournaments. On the other hand, this is the final opportunity for any experimentation. He needs to use it.
Expect him to use this game to gain a clearer understanding of where Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson are with their fitness. A first competitive start for Jude Bellingham would be welcome. In attack, Jadon Sancho will need to play if he is to be a serious option during the knockout stages. Jack Grealish offers balance on the left.
That means benching players such as Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount who are sure to be recalled. But these selections would be a useful way of introducing players who might be needed later if England are to entertain serious hopes of winning this tournament.
England (4-3-3): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Chilwell; Henderson, Rice, Bellingham; Sancho, Kane, Grealish.
Pick your England XI
The Sky Sports journalists have had their say, now chose your England starting XI for the final Euro 2020 group game against the Czech Republic…
Podcast: Scotland savour night at Wembley | What’s wrong with Kane?
Twenty five years on from their last tournament meeting, Scotland spring an upset of sorts with an encouraging 0-0 draw that keeps their Euro 2020 hopes alive. Alice Piper is joined by Luke Shanley, Jess Creighton and Peter Smith to examine where Scotland got it right and conduct the inquest into England’s toothless display.
PART 1: A Wembley performance for Scotland to savour as Steve Clarke’s selection earns alibis from supporters and lays the foundation for Tuesday’s “must-win” showdown with Croatia. What’s gone wrong with Harry Kane? Will Gareth Southgate drop his captain against the Czech Republic? Is it time for Jack Grealish?
PART 2: Sky Sports News reporter Geraint Hughes joins Alice to reflect on Wales’ triumph over Turkey in Baku before looking ahead to Sunday’s final group game against Italy in Rome.
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