England v Czech Republic: Starting XI predictions as Gareth Southgate to make big calls

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Who should Gareth Southgate pick to ensure Euro 2020 progress? Our writers have their say

It’s the final Group D qualifier and Gareth Southgate has a couple of selection headaches – not least caused by Billy Gilmour’s Covid test!

Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell have been forced to isolate after being in close contact with the Scotland midfielder, all but ruling them out of the game against the Czech Republic.

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And after the timid, drab, pathetic (feel free to choose your own adjective) display against Scotland, the England boss is faced with a plethora of ‘advice’ from fans and pundits over which side should start at Wembley on Tuesday night.

England v Czech Republic is the final Group D game at Euro 2020.England v Czech Republic is the final Group D game at Euro 2020.
England v Czech Republic is the final Group D game at Euro 2020.

Jadon Sancho has yet to get his boots dirty. Harry Maguire is back fit. Double pivots. Greeeeaaaalish!!!!

There’s so much opinion flying around that we thought we’d help by pitching in with our two penneth worth. Here’s the starting XIs our writers would pick:

Ross Gregory

(4-3-3): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Bellingham, Foden; Sancho, Kane, Sterling

How do you best play for an entertaining 2-2 draw?

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Let’s be honest, Raheem Sterling may have pleaded otherwise we all secretly want to finish runners-up and avoid France, Portugal or Germany in the next round, so a positive attacking performance that leads to a single point will be just the jobby.

Tyrone Mings has been pretty good but Harry Maguire needs a game so get him in. And as harsh as it may be on Kalvin Phillips, let’s have more energy in the centre of the park with Phil Foden joining Jude Bellingham now that Mason Mount looks out.

Then up top, I want to see a return to the strikeforce which battered the same opposition 5-0 a couple of years at Wembley. Sancho and Sterling swapping wings? Czech mate!

Richie Boon

(3-4-3): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Mings; James, Rice, Bellingham, Shaw; Grealish, Kane, Sterling.

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What a frenzied overreaction we saw to England's 0-0 draw with Scotland.

Yes, it was a fairly lifeless performance, but tournaments aren't won in the group stages, and there's no reason to panic after one poor showing against a Scotland side who raised their game to a whole new level.

With England now all but through to the knock-outs, I'd be tempted to go with a back three, as it will most likely be the formation Gareth Southgate reverts to for the remainder of the tournament.

While Harry Maguire is champing at the bit to get back into the side, Tyrone Mings has arguably been England best player in the tournament so far, and he deserves to keep his starting spot.

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Elsewhere, I'd pair Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham in midfield for a touch more energy, and buckle to the calls of the masses and include Jack Grealish, who deserves an opportunity to light up the tournament.

Jason Jones

(4-3-3) Pickford, James, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Henderson, Foden; Grealish, Sancho, Kane

Pick yourself up and dust yourself down because it’s nearly time for another hour and a half in purgatory as football continues it’s long, long trudge home.

Let’s not beat around the bush, Friday night’s draw against Scotland was a sobering blow, but by no means is it the end of the world – provided England can show a little more impetus and invention against the Czech Republic.

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Before we get to the final third though, now would be a good time for Gareth Southgate to bring Harry Maguire back into the side, assuming he is ready to start.

Likewise, while Kalvin Phillips has barely put a foot wrong in this tournament, an injection of passion and purpose from Jordan Henderson wouldn’t go amiss if he is in any fit state to administer the shot.

Harry Kane’s form has been a big talking point in the past few days, but the best thing to do is to let him play through his rough patch, and to give him a little more support and service to help him on his way.

Playing Jack Grealish in a match which essentially represents a dead rubber feels like a no-brainer, while Jadon Sancho, with his 36 goal involvements in 38 games last season, also deserves a chance to strut his stuff.