England: Southgate told to pair Kane with ‘menace’ as ‘bold formation change’ is demanded

Lewis Oldham
Harry Kane England
Harry Kane in action for England.

Head coach Gareth Southgate has been urged to green light a ‘bold formation change’ for England’s Euro 2024 quarter-final against Switzerland.

So far at Euro 2024, Southgate has opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation with attacking trio Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka offering support to Harry Kane.

Up to now, this system has not been working as Foden’s insistence on drifting inside means England have been ineffective on the left flank, especially with right-footed Kieran Trippier filling in at left-back.

England struggled in the round of 16 against Slovakia and were on the brink of a disappointing exit, but Bellingham’s stoppage-time overhead kick took the tie into extra time. Kane later scored a header to make it 2-1 as The Three Lions avoided an upset and booked their place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2024.

Southgate to make changes?

Former Germany and USA manager Jurgen Klinsmann has urged Southgate to ‘make a bold formation change’ for their match against Switzerland on Saturday, with the England boss told to select Kane and Ivan Toney as his starting strikers.

“It might be time for England to try something different at these Euros,” Klinsmann told The Sun.

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“Maybe Gareth Southgate will want to start the quarter-final against Switzerland in a 4-4-2 formation, with Ivan Toney alongside Harry Kane up front.

“I think it might work, and if Gareth feels the same, he should do it. This is the time when, as a manager at a tournament, you have to trust your gut instinct and never hold back from unpopular decisions.”

Klinsmann thinks Toney has the potential to be a “menace” for England and this can “still be a fantastic system”.

“I understand there can be snobbery about playing a 4-4-2 but sometimes you have to do something different. And I liked the look of Toney when he came on against Slovakia,” Klinsmann added.

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“The 4-2-3-1 has now become the standard formation — since Spain who won three tournaments in a row in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

“Most clubs and countries have adopted it but what if it’s not working? You always have to have an open mind. If you change formation and it doesn’t work, you can switch back.”

He added: “For a real No. 9 like Harry Kane to have a strike partner takes a lot of the physical work away. It is a great freedom to have.

“It can still be a fantastic system — two hard-working frontmen like Kane and Toney can be a real threat to the opposition. Toney is a menace in the air he can bring a different dynamic to the team.

“Gareth said Toney “had the hump” with him for bringing him on so late in injury time against Slovakia but he set up Kane’s winner with an excellent guided header and he looked a handful.

“Giving him his first involvement in injury time was a test. You don’t know whether he can cope with it until you try it — but Toney coped well.”