Trippier and Saka in line to start as wing-backs for England


England boss Gareth Southgate is expected to switch to a back three for the first time in three years in Saturday’s Euro 2024 quarter-final against Switzerland, with Kieran Trippier in line to start at right wing-back and Bukayo Saka at left wing-back.

Sky Sports News has reported in the last few days that Southgate has been working on a new game plan in training this week to try to kick-start England’s performance levels.

The England manager has tried a host of different players in different roles at their Blankenhain base in recent days, but it now looks like he has settled on Trippier and Saka to give his team some much-needed width.

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England manager Gareth Southgate says left-back Luke Shaw is fit to start their Euro 2024 quarter-final and praised Kieran Trippier

Southgate spoke glowingly of Trippier in his pre-match news conference, saying he has “done a brilliant, brilliant job for us.”

Trippier played as a right wing-back in the last competitive match when Southgate used this formation – the Euro 2020 final against Italy three years ago – but he has been deputising at left-back in a flat-back four so far in this tournament.

It looks like the 33-year-old’s experience and extra defensive nous has put him ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold in Southgate’s thinking.

On the left, it seems Southgate was determined to get a left-footed option as wing-back, but he is expected to opt for Saka instead of Luke Shaw – who has not played any football since mid-February but was declared fit enough to start by Southgate on Friday.

“Luke Shaw is available, available to start,” Southgate said at his pre-match press conference. “But Kieran has done a brilliant job for the team.

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England manager Gareth Southgate is frustrated with suggestions they’re on the easier side of the draw at Euro 2024, bemoaning an ‘entitlement we have as a nation that creates drama and annoys opponents’.

“He obviously doesn’t give us the natural balance of a natural left footer but his leadership, his talking is phenomenal and helps his team-mates to play the game. It’s a dying art – good talkers on the pitch, you can’t have enough of them.

“He has adapted and done a brilliant, brilliant job for us.”

England play Switzerland in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals in Dusseldorf on Saturday. Gareth Southgate’s side reached the last eight after a dramatic 2-1 win over Slovakia, with Jude Bellingham’s overhead kick equalising in the 94th minute before Harry Kane scored the winner in extra-time.

The Three Lions topped Group C with a win over Serbia and draws with Denmark and Slovenia. However, their performances throughout the tournament have underwhelmed, with Gary Neville saying: “If we don’t raise the performance levels, we’re going out on Saturday.”​​​​

If England beat Switzerland, they will play Netherlands or Turkey in the semi-finals in Dortmund on Wednesday; kick off 8pm UK time.

The final is in Berlin on Sunday July 14; kick-off 8pm UK time.

Neville: Southgate must take risks

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville speaking after the win over Slovakia:

“Four times this England team have played in this tournament where they’ve been below par. They will hope this is the catalyst for what would be improved performance levels and a change of direction in performance.

“Winning is everything in tournaments, but performances matter because eventually there’s only so far you can go being the inferior team. Not playing as well and winning will eventually catch you out and I think it will catch England out on Saturday if they keep playing at the same level.

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Sky Sports’ Gary Neville admits Gareth Southgate will have to make changes to his starting XI and possibly his system if they are to progress deep into the Euros

“Let’s be really clear. Three weeks ago, if you had handed this England squad, Gareth Southgate, the players, and us as fans, Switzerland in the quarter-finals, we would have bitten your hand off.

“But Switzerland are playing well, they’re a decent team. They are not to be disrespected and they won’t be by the players, but if we don’t raise the performance levels, we’re going out on Saturday.

“We were fortunate to get past Slovakia and rode our luck in the group where if Denmark scored one more goal, we would have played Germany.

“So we’ve rode our luck twice now, it could be written in the stars that we ride our luck all the way to the final, but my head is telling me we will hit a major obstacle if we carry on and we need to take risks to free ourselves up.

“We looked like England teams of the past where they looked frightened to death.”



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