England vs Croatia: Luke Shaw in line to play as left centre-half in shock selection

Manchester United defender could be in line for surprise role at Euro 2020

England manager Gareth Southgate is considering using Luke Shaw as a centre-half when he names his side to play Croatia in their Euro 2020 opener.

The Three Lions take on Croatia at Wembley on Sunday and have a number of selection issues.

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Why it matters: Harry Maguire’s injury has meant a dilemma for Southgate in the centre of defence. The Manchester United man is struggling with an ankle ligament injury. He had been expected to line up alongside John Stones in a back four, but his absence means that Southgate could consider switching to three centre-halves in order to give extra defensive resolve.

What the options are: England added defender Ben White to the squad when Trent Alexander-Arnold was ruled out. He joins fellow centre-halves Stones, Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady. Mings is the obvious choice as a left-sided centre-half but struggled in the warm-up games against Austria and Romania. Kyle Walker can also play as a right-sided centre-half. If Southgate chooses to play 4-3-3, he must pick Mings, Coady or White to partner Stones.

What has been said: Former England defender Lee Dixon, who knows Southgate from his time working together at ITV, said: “I just get the sense that he wants to be protective of the goal a little bit more, as in playing with that three. Luke Shaw on that left-hand side is something that has popped up in conversation before and he’s played there for Man United. I think he will go down that road and of the three that he will play, Shaw’s certainly in the mix for that.”

England's defenders Tyrone Mings and Luke Shaw race during a training session at the St. George's Park.