England XI: ‘Private’ Southgate admission to force ‘radical change’ for Euro 2024 quarter-final

Lewis Oldham
England manager Gareth Southgate consoles Phil Foden
England manager Gareth Southgate consoles Phil Foden.

England head coach Gareth Southgate is reportedly considering a ‘radical change’ for the Euro 2024 quarter-final against Switzerland for two reasons.

The Three Lions have flattered to deceive so far at Euro 2024 as they had a 1-0 win and two draws in the group stages before they avoided a huge upset against Slovakia in the round of 16.

Gareth Southgate‘s side were on course for a disastrous 1-0 defeat against Slovakia before Jude Bellingham netted a stoppage-time overhead kick to take the tie into extra time. Harry Kane later scored a winning goal for his side as they won 2-1 after extra time to avoid a penalty shootout.

So far at Euro 2024, England have lacked balance with right-back Kieran Trippier used as a makeshift left-back, while left-winger Phil Foden has been insistent on drifting inside.

Most of England’s players have underperformed and while Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi has been their surprise package, he will miss Saturday’s quarter-final against Switzerland after picking up two bookings.

It has been reported that Guehi’s absence could force a formation change for the Switzerland match, with Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa ‘first in line’ to replace the Palace star.

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A report from Sky Sports‘ Rob Dorsett claims ‘England look set to play a back three against Switzerland’ with ‘Foden and Bellingham are braced for No.10 roles behind Kane’.

Southgate is said to be ‘preparing to rip up the plans he has used so far at Euro 2024 and radically change England’s formation in an attempt to get more width from his side and put more of his best players in their best positions’.

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Regarding the reasoning for this potential change and who could start, the report explains.

‘Southgate has tried various formations and various players slotted into the different roles. It is clear the England boss is still undecided about who will occupy central midfield alongside Declan Rice – a key decision if England are not to be overrun in that department against Switzerland in Saturday’s quarter-final.

‘The planned change of formation seems driven by two factors: the suspension of Marc Guehi, who has been England’s most consistent defender in the tournament so far, and the fact that privately, Southgate has accepted that what he has tried so far in Germany has seen his players perform at way below their best.

‘Kieran Trippier’s availability, after concerns about his minor calf problem and the heavy knock to his knee that he picked up against Slovakia, could yet mean Southgate has a change of heart, and returns to a flat back four. But that is not currently an option in training, Sky Sports News understands.

‘The three centre-backs look set to be John Stones, Ezri Konsa and Kyle Walker – with Walker’s pace seen as the ideal foil to sweep around the back, if Switzerland break through the England defence.

‘But Southgate has yet to decide who will play as wing-backs, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Bukayo Saka, Trippier – and even Eberechi Eze – possibilities to play in those roles. Luke Shaw’s inclusion has also not been ruled out.’