Roy Keane and Ian Wright are likely to feel somewhat disappointed when they hear England’s leaked team news for the Euro 2020 final.
Gareth Southgate has already shown he has no issue with going against public opinion with his team selections, and so far it has worked a real treat across the tournament.
Having consistently chopped and changed his starting XI in every one of the 37 matches England have played since their defeat to Croatia in the 2018 World Cup semi-final, there were suggestions Southgate would be, for once, sticking with the same side.
However, England’s manager looks to have opted to tweak his lineup once more for the biggest showdown in English football history for 55 years.
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Italy have arguably been the team of the tournament so far, and come into the fixture at Wembley off the back of a 33-game unbeaten run, including knocking out Belgium and Spain in their last two outings.
Key to their success so far has been their irrepressible midfield trio of Jorginho, Marco Verratti and Nicolo Barella, along with their veteran central defensive pairing of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.
And in order to deal with the might of the Azzurri, Southgate appears to be favouring a change of system for the final, switching from a 4-3-3 to a more conservative 3-5-2.
Kieran Trippier looks set to be drafted into the side as right wing-back, shunting Kyle Walker infield to form part of a back three, while Luke Shaw is pushed further up on the left flank.
But where one player comes in, another has to be left out, and Bukayo Saka seems likely to be the man left on the bench.
The Arsenal youngster has been superb for his country at Euro 2020, and his omission will leave Keane and Wright shellshocked, after both pundits tipped Saka as a key player to help unlock their opponents.
“He (Southgate) has got good options,” Keane told ITV’s final preview show. “It would be nice to see Saka. People worry about young players but we’ve seen him get interviewed and he’s taken it all in his stride and his pace and his movement have been outstanding.
“Pace is vital if [Harry] Kane’s going to be dropping deep, getting down the sides of Italy is going to be a huge part of the game.”
Wright added: “Saka will get the ball and go at their midfield and defence, get behind them and make something.
“That’s what we’re seeing from him and that’s probably why Gareth has so much faith in him. I think maybe it’s something where he goes for an hour and you can bring on a [Jadon] Sancho or [Marcus] Rashford or [Jack] Grealish.”
Trippier’s involvement means Mason Mount may play in a more advanced role to the right of Kane in England’s front line, with Raheem Sterling operating on the opposite flank, and Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice sitting in behind.
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