The England starting XI Southgate is ‘veering towards’ for Slovakia as Neville calls for three changes

Joe Williams
Southgate Neville England
Gary Neville has hit out at Gareth Southgate over his coaching at Euro 2024.

England boss Gareth Southgate is likely to make just one change to his starting XI when the Three Lions face Slovakia in the last 16 of Euro 2024.

Southgate’s side has looked unbalanced throughout a Euro 2024 campaign which saw England top Group C despite three average performances.

There have been plenty of suggestions about how England should line-up in their next match, including playing Bukayo Saka at left-back and moving Phil Foden into the centre to drop Jude Bellingham deeper.

However, The Guardian insists that Southgate is ‘giving strong consideration to sticking with his first-choice attack’ after Foden returned to training on Friday.

Southgate ‘is not expected to do anything drastic against Slovakia on Sunday and is veering towards making only one change, with Kobbie Mainoo set to replace Conor Gallagher in midfield.’

Bellingham looked lethargic as England drew 0-0 against Slovenia in their final group match and Neville reckons the Real Madrid midfielder should potentially be left out against Slovakia on Sunday.

“The big question and the one that everyone is avoiding this week is Jude Bellingham,” Neville said on the Stick to Football podcast.

“To be fair, the idea of him being left out would be unthinkable 10 days ago. But at the moment, I don’t know, there’s something not right about him. I don’t know what’s happened.”

Former Republic of Ireland international Roy Keane added: “There’s something amiss. Why shouldn’t he be left out?

“Sometimes you have to make those big decisions, that’s Gareth’s job. What these players did two or three weeks ago is irrelevant, it’s a different dynamic in a tournament.”

And Neville insists he would make three definite changes to the England starting XI to face Slovakia with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mainoo and Cole Palmer all coming in.

When touching on other changes he would make for the last-16 match against Slovakia, Neville continued: “Kobbie Mainoo has to be in there, he will start. And I think I would bring in Trent for Trippier.

“On the right, I think I would bring in Cole Palmer for Saka. I love Saka to bits but I just think Palmer has to play now. So I would bring in Trent, Mainoo and Palmer.”

Wayne Rooney was left “worried” about the partnership between Harry Kane and Bellingham after watching the England duo carefully against Slovenia.

Rooney told The Times: “Watching England against Slovenia, I focused on Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane to try to understand how they are working together. What I saw left me worried. Jude’s body language told you a lot.

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“Three or four times in the first half he could not hide his frustration. He was trying to lead things by running past Harry to pressure the ball, the Slovenians would pass round him and he’d find nobody was backing up his run.

“For an attacking player that’s one of the worst feelings you can have. He was turning round to look at others and throwing his arms up. Body language like that sends a message to the fans, to his team-mates, to the manager.

“I’ve been there. I know exactly the position he’s in. I found myself in that headspace many times in international football, and at certain points in my club career.

“I just hope the frustration doesn’t boil over to the point where he gets a red card or does something stupid and gets himself injured. Against Slovenia, it looked as if he was getting close.”