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How England should line up in Euros quarter-final, according to i’s experts

As England’s players are keen to keep reminding us, football is a results business and on that basis, their Euro 2024 campaign has been a success.

The Three Lions are through to the quarter-final. They are, in theory, on the “right” side of the draw, separated for now from Europe’s heavyweights. Defensively they have largely been solid.

All of that is true, but it glosses over one major problem: performances have been dire. England were fortunate to top their group and required a moment of magic from Jude Bellingham to avoid an ignominious last-16 exit to Slovakia.

That dramatic comeback win will only provide a temporary reprieve if England fail to up their game against Switzerland in Dusseldorf on Saturday. The Swiss were minutes away from beating Germany and have already sent Italy packing. Underestimate them at your peril.

Gareth Southgate has so far chopped and changed in midfield but steadfastly avoided making any other changes. He will be forced into tweaking his backline this weekend at the very least, though, with Marc Guehi suspended.

Here are the changes Southgate should consider, according to i‘s football experts…

We’d also love to hear from you. Let us know the changes you would make to the team here and we’ll include the best responses below

Dunk for Guehi

Sam Cunningham’s England XI (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Dunk, Saka; Mainoo, Rice; Palmer, Bellingham, Foden; Kane

It’s time to freshen up the front four and by moving Bukayo Saka to left-back it keeps one of England’s best players on the field while making room for Cole Palmer, a player who can provide the unpredictability England have lacked.

Saka will provide the natural left-foot, pace and width in the final third England are badly missing with Luke Shaw injured, and it could allow Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham more freedom to play more effectively.

I would personally bring Lewis Dunk in while Marc Guehi is suspended (I suspect Gareth Southgate will go with Ezri Konsa).

Ignore the social media clips of some high-profile mistakes, Dunk’s overall statistics are brilliant.

Gamble on Shaw

Kevin Garside’s England XI (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Alexander-Arnold, Stones, Konsa, Shaw; Wharton, Mainoo; Palmer, Bellingham, Gordon; Kane

Luke Shaw must come in on the left. Adam Wharton is vital to give England the midfield control they have been lacking with Declan Rice as the anchor. Four games of plodding mediocrity yields to invention and pace.

Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Foden and Saka have run their race in this tournament. Time to free the horses.

Rejig the defence

Oliver Young-Myles’ England XI (4-2-3-1): Pickford: Alexander-Arnold, Konsa, Stones, Gomez; Mainoo, Rice; Palmer, Bellingham, Gordon; Kane

Walker has offered nothing in attack (besides that long throw) and hasn’t even been defensively sound either. It’s time to unleash Trent.

As for left-back, Shaw is clearly not fit enough to start so why not give Joe Gomez a go? He can’t be any more ineffective than Trippier has been and actually played there regularly for his club last season. Konsa is best equipped to fill in for the suspended Guehi.

Further forward I’d replace Saka and Foden with Palmer and Anthony Gordon to inject some much-needed impetus into the frontline.

Switch to 4-3-3

George Simms’ England XI (4-3-3): Pickford; Alexander-Arnold, Stones, Dunk, Konsa; Wharton, Rice, Bellingham; Saka, Kane, Gordon

Walker has been poor throughout the tournament and was dire against Slovakia – Alexander-Arnold is now stronger in every aspect of his game. Mainoo was a step up from Gallagher but still flawed – it is time to give Wharton a go to exert control.

So long as Bellingham is available, he should start in a midfield three – persevering with him as a No 10 behind a lone striker is bizarre given it clearly isn’t working and he hasn’t played there since he left Birmingham.

Gordon for Foden is now such a popular belief it doesn’t bear explaining.

What changes would you like Gareth Southgate to make? Let us know here and we’ll include the best in this article

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