England vs Denmark team news: Saka or Sancho? Or a shock recall for Phil Foden? Our football writers pick their starting XI
Gareth Southgate has another huge decision to make tonight as England take on Denmark for a place in the final of Euro 2020.
Head coach Southgate has not shied away from tough selection decisions this tournament. The call to start Kalvin Phillips, Raheem Sterling and Kieran Trippier in the first game against Croatia was widely criticised, while the clamour for Jack Grealish has been strong all tournament.
Southgate has not been swayed by public or pundit opinion, and has shown he isn’t afraid to change a winning team, though he must be strongly tempted to keep faith with the side that beat Ukraine 4-0 in the quarter-final on Saturday.
It seems that there is just one spot up for grabs, the third forward role alongside Sterling and captain Harry Kane. Reports today suggest Bakayo Saka could come back in, though Jadon Sancho is hoping to keep his shirt for the tie.
Not that he needs it but here's the advice from our football writers to Southgate on what team he should pick.
(4-3-3) Pickford; Walker, Maguire, Stones, Shaw; Rice, Phillips, Mount; Sterling, Sancho, Kane
It may not be the most revelatory lineup, but as the old adage goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
While Gareth Southgate’s starting XI has looked increasingly predictable (by no means a bad thing, by the way) as this tournament has gone on, there are still a couple of places you would imagine are up for grabs.
The most obvious spot is out on the right wing, where the manager has flitted between a number of options as the competition has progressed. Jadon Sancho got his first start at the weekend and shone, with his movement proving to be the perfect foil for a marauding Kyle Walker.
One of Denmark’s standout performers at Euro 2020 has been left wing-back Joakim Maehle, but the Atalanta man is right-footed, and you would imagine that there isn’t a wide man in Southgate’s squad as capable of getting to the by-line and pushing the Dane onto his weaker side as Sancho.
The other interesting call will be seeing who the manager starts in that advanced midfield role. Mason Mount came back into the side against Ukraine to good effect, and he probably provides a slightly more defensively sound option than Jack Grealish or Phil Foden.
Given Andreas Christensen’s tendency to step out from the back to supplement Denmark’s midfield options, the 22-year-old could do a decent job of nullifying his Chelsea teammate.
(4-3-3): Pickford; Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Phillips, Mount; Sancho, Kane, Sterling
I’m desperate to get Phil Foden back into the team and considered bringing him in for Mason Mount in the No 10 role, but that would be harsh on the Chelsea man.
The only change I’d consider is axing Kyle Walker – even despite England’s five clean sheets. His form still worries me, and there’s a temptation to hand the outstanding Kieran Trippier a start.
(4-3-3): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Phillips, Mount; Sancho, Sterling, Kane.
There's something very reassuring about the club-country link in England's back four, with both centre-backs flanked by their Man City/Man Utd teammate in the full-back position.
That said, I expressed this opinion to a mate during the Ukraine game, and almost instantly Kyle Walker made a shocking blunder and put his City teammate John Stones in all kinds of trouble, so perhaps it's not quite a thing of perfection just yet!
Denmark will undoubtedly pose England a tougher test than Ukraine, but I'd still stick with what looks to be a pretty solid back four.
Elsewhere, I don't see a need to make any changes to the side, and would give Jadon Sancho as his work rate is always exceptional.
With the likes of Jack Grealish, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden waiting in the wings, there's more than enough quality in the locker to turn the game on its head if required.