England’s rumoured XI for their Euro 2024 quarter final against Switzerland

England’s rumoured XI for their Euro 2024 quarter final against Switzerland

Southgate and Alexander Arnold England

England have been exploring the option of changing formation to a three-at-the-back system ahead of this Saturday’s EURO 2024 quarter-final against Switzerland, and it looks increasingly likely that Gareth Southgate might ditch his trusted 4-2-3-1 lineup in the latest of a string of failed attempts at getting the best out of a Three Lions squad who are yet to live up to their billing as favourites for the showpiece tournament.

Before they embarked on their flight to Germany, the nation’s hopefuls rolled out the red carpet for a squad that was compared – and held in higher regard to – than the 2006 “Golden Generation”, with star talent like Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, Harry Kane, and Bukayo Saka predicted to deliver the long-broken promises of bringing football home for the first time since 1966.

Following an unconvincing 1-0 win over Serbia on matchday one, the Three Lions have been unable to win each of their three subsequent fixtures during regular time, with draws against Denmark and Slovenia coming before they left it late to edge past Slovakia in the first knockout round. Nevertheless, a major tactical switch could be in the offing, which could see drastic action taken to get England back on the track to the promised land, and with this formation change comes exciting potential new setups.

If England does set up with three centre-backs, it is likely that John Stones, Kyle Walker and Ezri Konsa will make up the trio with Marc Guehi suspended after his yellow card against Slovakia, but it is out wide where changes could make for a more interesting read when team news surfaces an hour before kickoff.


Trent Alexander-Arnold could be reinstated

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Bukayo Saka hugging for England

At the start of EURO 2024, Trent Alexander-Arnold became the media’s scapegoat, with his new role in midfield coming as a cause for concern for BBC and ITV pundits, who felt his position would be better taken up by Conor Gallagher, Kobbie Mainoo, or Adam Wharton.

But as time has marched on, calls for his return have grown louder with every passing minute that England struggle to create clear-cut chances. For Liverpool, the inverted right-back has been a revelation to the Reds’ attacking successes, and this appears to be a drawback for the Three Lions, who are missing a creative player of Alexander-Arnold’s caliber.

But with Marc Guehi now suspended for the quarter-final match against Switzerland, Southgate might want to bolster his central defensive options, which could see the Liverpudlian take up a position at right wingback, with Bukayo Saka handed a start on the left channel – a position he took up during his youth days and was seen in again in the latter stages of the Round of 16 match.

With Kyle Walker operating on the right of a three-man defence, Alexander Arnold would be given the green light to start in his more familiar position, and this could unlock no end of creative weapons for the likes of Harry Kane to benefit from.

Wide Midfielders With Foden

Phil Foden might keep his unfavoured left-wing berth

Phil Foden

Another option Southgate could opt for is by keeping the wide areas as they are, with Phil Foden remaining in his left-midfield position and Saka continuing as he was on the right flank. The only change this would make is that both would sit slightly deeper than what they have been accustomed to, which places more emphasis on them dropping back and helping with the defence.

reat extent, this could cause more harm than good for Foden in particular, who already appears to be struggling to make an impact from out wide. So, by adding defensive duties to his to-do list, this might place a heavier burden on his shoulders. With that said, though, Southgate ostensibly prefers a lineup that features both Foden and Jude Bellingham, refusing to take the same course of action he did with Alexander-Arnold by dropping the underperforming Manchester City playmaker.

Additionally, Southgate has long placed his faith – rather rightly or wrongly – in a settled lineup, with changes coming in short supply across the four major international tournaments he has managed England in. By keeping Foden and Saka in their usual positions under him, the 53-year-old can still maintain that much-loved stability.

Wide Midfielders With Palmer

Saka is likely to keep his place in the team, but calls for Cole Palmer to start could be listened to

Cole Palmer replaces Bukayo Saka

No matter how Southgate goes about selecting his team ahead of Saturday’s showdown with Switzerland, it is almost certain that Saka will retain his starting spot, and a lot of this is down to his supreme versatility. In the first option, he could play left wingback, the second saw him in his usual right-midfield berth, and in the final alternative, the Arsenal talisman could operate at left-midfield.

In place of Saka in the right channel might be none other than Chelsea’s Cole Palmer, who, regardless of his stellar performances for his club, which saw the Blues make a late dart towards qualification for European competition next season by virtue of one-man wrecking machine displays, cannot seem to get a start under Southgate.

But with the aforementioned problem of England’s lack of creativity, an alternative option the Three Lions boss could lean towards is finally giving Palmer a start against Switzerland. No Premier League player had a better combined number of goals and assists than the recently-turned 22-year-old last season, who contributed to 33 goals in as many games, while he has often looked like the brightest spark when coming off the bench for his nation, albeit not for long enough to make a sustained impact.


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