Southgate considers England formation change as ‘first in line’ for Guehi revealed and Toney, Kane mooted

Will Ford
Southgate England Switzerland
Gareth Southgate is considering a formation change for Switzerland.

Gareth Southgate is considering a major England formation change for their Euro 2024 quarter-final against Switzerland as the Three Lions boss ‘desperately seeks an improvement in performance’.

England finished top of their group but failed to convince in any of their three games save for the first 30 minutes against Serbia, and then needed a 95th-minute goal from Jude Bellingham against Slovakia in the last 16 to prevent them being dumped out of the tournament before Harry Kane struck in extra time to send them through.

‘First in line’ for Guehi

Marc Guehi – one of few England players to have impressed in Germany – is suspended for the clash with Switzerland on Saturday having been booked against Slovakia, and The Telegraph has revealed that Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa, who came on at the end of the first knockout game, is ‘first in line’ to repalce him.

But the report states that Konsa could be playing as part of a new-look back three with John Stones in the middle and Kyle Walker on the right.

Southgate switched to a back three towards the end of the Slovakia game but has not started an England game in that formation in a major tournament since the final of Euro 2020 , when the Three Lions lost to Italy.

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Toney and Kane?

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier, Bukayo Saka and Luke Shaw, if he’t fit, could be the options at wing-back, while the change also offers Southgate the possibility of playing Ivan Toney alongside Kane up front, though it’s more likely Bellingham and Phil Foden will operate as two number tens.

The report adds that England still have two more training sessions ahead of the Switzerland game and Southgate ‘could decide to stick with a back four, but it is clear that a back three is being given some serious consideration’.

Ivan Toney played next to Kane at the end of the Slovakia game, but dodged the question when asked if Southgate had looked at two strikers in training this week.

“You’ll have to ask the gaffer,” said Toney. “We concentrate more on the opposition we’re coming up against, so we do more movements and repetitions on them.

“I am not the manager. Obviously, I would like to be playing as a two, but that is the gaffer and his choice. We have to respect that and go with that. Everyone wants to play, whether that is a two or as one I will do my best for the squad.”

READ MORE: England player ratings v Slovakia: Bellingham and Kane poor but decisive as Walker struggles

Toney will almost certainly be on the pitch if the quarter-final tie goes to a penalty shoot-out, given his excellent record from the spot, and said he would not let the racist abuse Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho suffered after missing against Italy in 2021 put him off.

“I’m a confident person,” said Toney. “If I score, I score. If I miss, I miss. We have to step up and you have to have the courage to take a penalty. What will be, will be. For those who racially abuse a player for missing a penalty or doing something wrong, more fool them.”

Asked where his confidence comes from, Toney added: “I think it’s within, within the people around you. The manager puts his trust into you. Everyone around you, really.”