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Wayne Rooney has named the England team he would pick to face Germany on Tuesday and it’s unlikely to be popular with fans.
Gareth Southgate has some tough decisions on his hands ahead of the crunch Euro 2020 last-16 clash at Wembley.
Reports have suggested he could change his formation to three at the back to match up with the Germans.
Then there’s the decisions over his attacking options. Both Bukayo Saka and Jack Grealish played well against Czech Republic, while Raheem Sterling has scored England’s only two goals and Harry Kane is likely to start whatever happens.
Phil Foden was rested for the game, but starred in the opening clash against Croatia and Jadon Sancho is yet to get the minutes he perhaps deserves.
England’s record goalscorer Rooney picked his XI in the Sunday Times, and it included three defensive midfielders in a 4-1-2-3 formation.
Rooney wrote: “After all my championing of Jack Grealish, I wouldn’t play him from the start against Germany. He was one of England’s better players against the Czech Republic and it is not that my opinion of him has changed.
“My thinking is entirely down to how the Germans play. Different opponents demand different approaches and Tuesday’s game is tailor-made for Marcus Rashford — but not Jack.”
There was also no place for Foden in Rooney’s team, while he also said it was a tough choice between Sterling, Saka and Sancho on the right.
On playing three defensive midfielders, he said: “I would go with a midfield three, rather than a two, plus a No 10, which was Grealish’s role against the Czechs.
“It’s important not to be outnumbered in the middle because Joachim Löw has forward players who drop back in, like Thomas Müller and Kai Havertz, and Joshua Kimmich, who comes in from right wing back to centre midfield.
“Provided Jordan Henderson is fit I’d start him alongside Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips but Henderson has to be 100 per cent.
“In a game of this size, where Germany will keep the ball and make you run, you will suffer if you’re not completely there physically. I’d use Jude Bellingham instead if there is the slightest doubt about Henderson.”
Here is who Rooney picked in his England XI to face Germany.
Germany have not been at their best at Euro 2020 so far and scraped through their tough Group F with a late goal to get a draw against Hungary.
Rooney feels they are actually the hardest opponents to face at this stage, and would have taken either France or Portugal.
Rooney added: “They are the toughest second-round opponents England could have — I would rather be up against Portugal or France.
“Yes, Germany only squeezed past Hungary and had (by their standards) poor results coming into the tournament but their performances against the Portuguese and the French were among the best I’ve seen at Euro 2020.
“England have a chance, but I think it’s going to be difficult.”