Our football writers pick England starting XI to beat Germany in huge Euro 2020 clash

It’s England v Germany at the Euros. It rarely comes bigger than this. But what should the Three Lions’ starting XI be?

Gareth Southgate goes head to head with opposite number Joachim Low.
Gareth Southgate goes head to head with opposite number Joachim Low.

Everyone from Wayne Rooney to Jose Mourinho have had their say on what team Gareth Southgate should pick to face Germany tonight.

So why not us?

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As we’ve done before every England game this tournament, our football writers have picked the starting XI they’d select.

Could Marcus Rashford get a surprise nod to start against Germany?

Will it be three at the back to match up against the German system? Who plays up front? Is Mason Mount fit and ready to play after his isolation?

Decisions decisions. Here’s how our team would go:

Ross Gregory

(3-4-3): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Rice, Phillips, Shaw; Sterling, Kane, Rashford

Yes, yes...England have kept three clean sheets playing a back four, but this is different.

Given Germany’s strengths are their two wing-backs, it would be suicide for England not to match them up. Joshua Kimmich and Robin Gosens are Germany’s two biggest threats and their performances against Portugal in particular were incredibly impressive.

Joachim Low gets his wing-backs to play high up the pitch, with space created by the front three dropping into space either side of the centre halves. If England play a back four, the full-backs will have to tuck in tight to stop the front three which creates space out wide for Kimmich and Gosens to overload. Southgate would need his two wingers to constantly track back, negating their attacking threat.

You could go Bakayo Saka ahead of Luke Shaw at left wing-back but it would be a big ask for him to look after Kimmich defensively. Keep it tight and then get Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford’s pace up against Mats Hummels & Co and go on the counter and it’s winner winner, chicken dinner.

Richie Boon

(3-4-3): Pickford; Walker, Maguire, Stones; Trippier, Rice, Phillips, Saka; Mount, Sterling, Kane.

I'm going with a back three, with Walker in there for his relentless pace to cover an inevitable blunder or two from Stones and/or Maguire.

Trippier on the right for those lethal set-pieces, and Saka switched into the left wing-back role with licence to bomb on and cause chaos on the overlap.

The Rice/Phillips combination caused Croatia's creaking midfield all manner of issues at the start of the tournament, and I'd like to see them do a similar job on Germany's old boys.

Despite Mason Mount being in self-isolation for a week, I'm tempted to bring him back in, as he's proven his ability to cope with the pressure and thrive in huge games for Chelsea.

Lastly, Sterling can't be dropped after scoring twice in the group stages, while skipper Harry Kane always has to be the man to start up top.

Jason Jones

(4-3-3) Pickford, James, Maguire, Stones, Shaw, Rice, Phillips, Mount, Grealish, Sterling, Kane

Last 16 clashes don’t come much more difficult than this one but for the most part, Gareth Southgate should keep faith with the side that beat the Czech Republic last week, with a couple of minor alterations.

Reece James coming in for Kyle Walker would provide more defensive solidity in wide areas against a side who tend to utilise wing-backs, but without compromising on any of the attacking threat England rely on themselves in that area of the pitch.

Now that he’s back from his period of isolation, Mount should slot straight into his usual number 10 role to link the midfield and attack, with Jack Grealish pushed out to his preferred berth on the left flank. It might seem harsh to drop Saka after his stellar display against the Czechs, but keeping our only goalscorer of the tournament in the XI is probably a wise idea, so Sterling gets the nod, and the young Arsenal star could still have a big part to play with his pace, energy, and directness in the closing stages or, god forbid, extra time.