England can respond to warning by maintaining width in Swiss clash | Karen Carney

TeaThere are three simple ways to play football: through, over and around. When one of these methods doesn’t work, the team has to try one of the other two. In such situations doing the same thing over and over again is not productive because it makes it easier to defend. England They have realized this and now it seems that they are going to change.

It has been made clear everywhere European Championship England have a balance problem. The combination of Kieran Trippier and Phil Foden has not delivered what Gareth Southgate would have hoped for from an attacking point of view and it looks like a change in formation is on the cards. It looks like Southgate will switch to a back three for the quarter-final against Switzerland on Saturday.

After Dramatic victory After the win over Slovakia and not playing a match for almost a week, England should be more confident and refreshed, and a new formation will provide further impetus. If they want to reach the semi-finals they will have to be more adventurous and change the way they use their players because being conservative has held England back.

I mentioned I wrote in my column two weeks ago that switching to wing-back could be helpful. Bukayo Saka at left wing-back and either Trippier or Trent Alexander-Arnold at right wing-back could provide much-needed width. Trippier is a very experienced defender, but at left wing-back he has struggled to get forward. I understand why he is at left-back, but because he is right-footed, his tendency is to drop back inside. He won’t get forward positively with his left foot or run into spaces high up the pitch, and that means England would lose pace on that side. Having more natural balance would be beneficial.

It looks like Ezri Konsa will replace the suspended Marc Guehi on the left side of central defence, with John Stones in the middle and Kyle Walker on the right. Konsa has a good relationship with Saka as the two often do extra training together – the Arsenal player knows Konsa is an excellent one-v-one defender – and that understanding will help the partnership on that side. It also means Saka can focus on attacking, knowing he has a good one-v-one defender behind him.

Ezri Konsa

The problem with Trippier at left-back is that when he takes a touch infield he tends to drop back into the body. England have a lot of players in that area and opponents will too as they tend to defend deep and are hard to break down. This means the cycle has to start again and attacks become stagnant. Saka, on the other hand, would be able to push attacks forward at pace and move the team higher up the pitch.

When England couldn’t find a way through the middle of Slovakia they had to play wide and pass around them. Two of the goals came from a long throw-in and a corner, showing that they are dangerous from wide positions, something they can replicate in open play if they have players in the right places. All of England’s goals so far have come from wide areas.

The No. 10 position was the place to work for Foden and Jude Bellingham against Slovakia, but their opponents did a brilliant job of blocking the corridor, meaning England need to consider something different. Foden and Bellingham have not yet thrived playing behind the striker, so it will be interesting to see if a change in system will benefit them. It has become quite easy for teams to take England players out of the game and a change in formation will give Switzerland more to think about.

Harry Kane doesn’t have the pace to make runs over the top and the players behind him will have to create too much space to get past him because of England’s strength. This means width is the way to go.

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If England can consistently create a wide threat then Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham and others will thrive. Photographer: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Southgate says it’s not about where Foden starts but where he ends, but if there’s little space to play in and he doesn’t get the ball, it doesn’t matter where he is. I’ve seen him make some really good runs without the ball, trying to get involved in the game, but England aren’t using him to his potential.

The principle of putting Foden and Bellingham in those small central spaces makes sense. That’s what Foden is used to at City, but there he gets width from Jeremy Doku or Jack Grealish, who hug the touchline, and Bellingham has Vinicius Jr. at Real Madrid. Those players make the opposition worry about them and that gives Foden and Bellingham more space. Nobody is worried about Trippier in Germany because they know he won’t overlap and will provide great crosses with his left foot, meaning England are unable to stretch the defence and create pockets to work in, but Saka on the left can change that.

I wonder if Southgate is planning a change because he wants to match Murat Yakin’s plans or because he thinks it’s best for England. I think the truth is somewhere in between. Switzerland have played with a back three and box midfield in Germany and that means the middle of the pitch is likely to be full again and England’s wide players will be even more important. Southgate will want to push Switzerland’s wing-backs towards their goal but at the same time space at the back can be exploited.

England have learned a lot throughout this tournament. They have a quality of imposing themselves and they cannot afford to try the same thing over and over again when it is not working. Adaptability is a key quality for any successful team and this is the right time for a change.

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