Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Gareth Southgate can utilise wide talent

David Nugent in Editorial, General Soccer News 15 Nov 2018

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England boss Gareth Southgate used a three-man backline at the World Cup with two wing-backs, which helped the team to the last four of the competition. However, the decision to go with that formation was to get the best out of the players at his disposal at the time. With a friendly against the USA this evening, it could be argued that the England boss now has far more options.

Sancho and Sterling can provide width

The emergence of talented young winger Jadon Sancho at Dortmund this season has given Southgate a sparkling new option. The 18-year-old has delivered six assists for BVB in the German top-flight, despite not starting games on a regular basis for Lucien Favre’s side.

The youngster made his debut for the senior national team in a 12-minute cameo against Croatia in a goalless draw. He looked bright and it looks likely that Sancho could start Thursday’s game against the US.

Raheem Sterling has been one of the best performing players in the Premier League this season, scoring six goals and producing five assists.

The former Liverpool star is truly shining under Pep Guardiola at City and is now one of the first names on the England teamsheet. Sterling had underachieved at international level until last time out when he bagged a brace in a 3-2 win in Spain.

Sterling can play as a central striker, but his best work usually comes when he is playing out wide, just as he does at Manchester City.

Southgate may stick with 433 for the USA game

Gareth Southgate does not come across as the stubborn sort of boss who will stick with one formation. In fact, the former Middlesbrough boss switched to a 433 for the victory in Spain.

The switch brought the best out of Sterling, who had been heavily criticised for some for his displays in an England shirt. A switch to a 433 would certainly give the likes of Sterling and Sancho a chance to shine in their best positions.

Playing 433 would also allow Southgate to fit Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford into the team. The youngster is unlikely to dislodge Spurs Harry Kane from the central striker position, which is Rashford’s preferred role.

However, he has featured successful out wide for United in the past. The forward’s performances for United have not been great this season, but he has produced better displays for the national team.

Rashford’s United teammate Jesse Lingard is also arguably most effective when he plays out wide. Overall, the England boss is not short of wide players, if he chooses to play a 433 formation against the USA or indeed Croatia on Sunday in the Nations League.

Thursday night’s game could be an interesting one

Friendly games are usually not great for intrigue and excitement. However, there are a few things to look out for in England’s clash with the USA. Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson and Brighton’s Lewis Dunk could make their international debuts.

Both players have started the season in good form and are proof that Gareth Southgate is picking form players for the national team. Wayne Rooney winning his 120th international cap as a substitute is another talking point.

However, I am looking forward to the possible debut of Sancho. From what I have seen of the youngster at Dortmund, he represents an exciting prospect for the Three Lions.

England are favourites to win the game at odds of 1/3 and no matter what team Southgate picks we would expect them to overcome the out-of-form visitors at Wembley. It will be interesting to see if Sancho and Sterling start on the flanks, as it could be the start of a potentially new and exciting pairing in the England team.

Will Jadon Sancho start for England against the USA on Thursday night?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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