England might make 1 change to their lineup for Euro 2024 semifinals 

Stephen Warnock, a former England international, has urged Gareth Southgate to switch up the starting lineup for Wednesday's Euro 2024 semifinal matchup against the Netherlands
England

(Football news) After stumbling through to the final four, the Three Lions will try to make it to a second consecutive European Championship final when they play Ronald Koeman’s team in Dortmund.

At this summer’s tournament, England has only won once in 90 minutes, a 1-0 victory over Serbia in their opening encounter. They have also need late equalizers in both of their knockout games before defeating Slovakia and Switzerland in extra time and on penalties, respectively.

For the encounter against Switzerland, Southgate used a different system, starting three at the back with Kieran Trippier and Bukayo Saka as wing-backs.

Saka started on the right despite being predominantly left-footed, while Trippier was on the left despite being right-footed, and the latter in particular has been criticised at times throughout the tournament for cutting inside too often compared to a natural left-back.

Trippier “slows England down” on the left

Warnock knows the left-back position well from his playing career and featured there twice for England, and he believes that a natural left-footer would improve the overall balance in Southgate’s side, if he sticks with the formation from the Switzerland match.

“I think the reason [the three-at-the-back formation] works is because you’re trying to get [Jude] Bellingham and [Phil] Foden into that position behind Harry Kane,” 

“But also, when you’ve got wing-backs, you can push them higher up the pitch and press, and then at the back, it leaves you three vs. two, three vs. three. What you’re then doing is you’re trusting your three centre-backs to go as tight as you want and to be left in in one vs. one situations, albeit three vs. three.

“But you’re happy to go one against one against your man, I think it works. My only thing with it is I still don’t understand Saka and Trippier playing on the opposite sides and playing inside.

“I understand Saka to a certain degree, because he’s used to playing that side and he can run the ball down the line quite comfortably. But Trippier – there’s nothing against him, I’m a huge fan, he’s been magnificent for club and country – but it’s not a natural thing for him to want to go down the left-hand side. He always wants to come back, and it just slows England down a bit.

“If they can get that balance right down the left-hand side, I think the formation actually works really well.”

Saka is England’s main man

Saka produced the standout performance of England’s quarter-final victory over Switzerland, deservedly being named man of the match on top of scoring the equaliser and netting in the penalty shootout.

Warnock was full of praise for the Arsenal winger, but believes that a switch away from Trippier on the left side would help Saka to stand out even more as England’s main man.

“If you can isolate Saka in one vs. one situations and make the most of his attributes, then he’ll stand out in most games,”.

“There have been games where he’s been suffocated where we’re getting the ball out to him so slow. But again, that comes down to the balance of the left-hand side. If you’re playing against England, you know that that ball effectively is only going to go out to Saka, he’s going to be the main player.

“What are you going to do? You’re going to put two men on that side, make sure that you make it very difficult for him and make it tough for him to take you on in one vs. one situations. It’s very easy to set up against England at the moment because of that imbalance.”

England have suffered from a shortage of available left-backs so far at Euro 2024, with Luke Shaw the only natural one included in the squad despite the Manchester United man having not played since February due to injury.

Shaw also missed England’s first four games of this summer’s tournament, but did make a cameo off the bench against Switzerland and could be in line to feature against Netherlands in Wednesday’s semi-final.

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