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HEADACHES: Southgate says England starting XI spots are up for grabs

HEADACHES: Southgate says England starting XI spots are up for grabs

Gareth Southgate says England starting XI spots are up for grabs for their last 16 tie in the European Championships.

England’s win over the Czech Republic on Monday meant they topped Group D and set up a clash between themselves and one of France, Germany, Portugal or Hungary although the latter feels unlikely.

So far, Southgate has rung the changes in both games. In Monday’s match, he brought in Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka to start whilst he also substituted Declan Rice for Jordan Henderson at half-time.

Asked if he knew his ideal starting line-up in the last-16 against the Group F runners-up, Southgate said: “For the last 12 months whenever I’ve written a team sheet down anything more than two days before a game it’s changed, so at the moment, no.

“We’ll watch the matches (on Wednesday), we’ll see how everybody is once we get back to St George’s and through the next couple of days of recovery and we’ll go from there.

“I think what’s clear is that there are some areas of the team that we’ve been able to build closer to what we think is full strength as the last sort of four weeks or so has gone on.

“Players have arrived late from European finals or (we’ve) been unable to get them on the pitch following injury or lacked fitness and I’ve always felt that we were going to have to grow into this tournament in terms of selection. That’s why the squad has been so important.”

Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell may not be available for the England starting XI as they are having to isolate for seven days after coming into contact with Scotland’s Billy Gilmour who tested positive for Covid-19.


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