England needs to make a few changes for upcoming matches

Ukraine drew with England 1-1 in a qualifying match for the 2024 European Championships in Wrocław, Poland last Saturday. The Three Lions had to bounce back after falling behind through an Oleksandr Zinchenko goal, as Kyle Walker equalized for them.

England’s performance, though, might not have satisfied Gareth Southgate, their manager. He will be facing a few selection dilemmas for their upcoming matches. It remains to be seen how he addresses them.

England stuck to a 4-2-3-1 that kept changing to a 3-4-2-1

England started the match with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Jordan Henderson and Declan Rice playing in a double pivot, and James Maddison playing as the No. 10. Jude Bellingham, who is primarily a central attacking midfielder, started on the left flank, but kept shifting inside frequently.

As a result, England’s formation changed to a 3-4-2-1 while in possession, with Ben Chilwell playing as the left wing-back, and Bellingham and Maddison occupying central positions. England’s attacks also primarily flowed through the left side. However, their only goal came through the right when an onrushing Walker trapped a wonderful long ball from Harry Kane to equalize for his side.

Still, Bukayo Saka lacked support on the right flank for the most part and Maddison was not that impressive either. The likes of Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford came in in the second half, replacing Bellingham and Maddison.

Rashford should be starting for England

It is very clear that England does not have a better left winger than Rashford at the moment. Their attacks through the left became more intense after the 25-year-old Manchester United winger was introduced. Hence, he should probably be starting in the Three Lions’ next match against Italy in October.

However, for that to happen, Southgate will need to accommodate Bellingham in another position in his starting eleven. Either the Real Madrid midfielder, who has had a great start to the season in La Liga, will have to play as the No. 10, thereby replacing Maddison, or he will have to start in the double pivot alongside Rice.

Given his attacking prowess and the kind of form he is at the moment, Southgate will not risk playing him as a holding midfielder. Hence, the only logical option for him is to start the 20-year-old as the No. 10 only.

Maddison is also in very good form for Tottenham Hotspur at the moment and it will be a bit harsh on him should he go on to lose his place in the starting eleven. However, Bellingham is undroppable at the moment and England will be stronger with the inclusion of Rashford in their playing 11. So, it is Maddison who will have to make way for them.

Much has been said about Harry Maguire’s inclusion in the team as well. However, aside from Levi Colwill, England does not have any other center back who is playing on a regular basis for a top club. Hence, Southgate did not do much wrong by keeping faith on Maguire’s experience.

England is in a very strong position in their group, but will still not want any reversal in the match against Italy. A victory at Wembley in October will all but ensure their qualification for the next year’s tournament.

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