Jadon Sancho is set to be handed his first start of the Euro’s on Saturday night as England face Ukraine in Roma for a place in the semi-finals.
The Borussia Dortmund winger, who is all set for a £73m move to Manchester United, has not really featured for the Three Lions. He appeared as an 84th-minute sub in the 1-0 win over Czech Republic.
But with Gareth Southgate set to make a number of changes, Sancho looks likely to get the nod, according to Matt Law of the Telegraph and David Ornstein of The Athletic.
Harry Maguire has revealed Sancho has been working hard in training and he could replace Bukayo Saka, who has a knock, in the starting XI.
Mason Mount is also set to return to the line-up after missing out against the Czech Republic and Germany.
The Chelsea star was forced to quarantine after close contact with team-mate Billy Gilmour, who returned a positive Covid-19 test. The attacker returned to the squad ahead of the Germany game, but was an unused substitute.
Southgate is also tipped to revert to a back four after playing with three centre-backs in the 2-0 win over Germany.
Southgate is adamant he will not decide his team to face Ukraine based on the fact that four of his players – Harry Maguire, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips and Phil Foden – are on yellow cards.
Still, Maguire, Rice and Phillips will start, according to Ornstein.
Either one would be suspended for the semis if they were booked in Rome.
“I was on a yellow before the semi-final with Germany at Euro 96 and would have missed the final had we ever got there, had I picked up a yellow in the semi,” said Southgate.
“You still have to be committed, avoid unnecessary yellows if you can but accept you might mistime something.
“You have to have the same commitment because if you don’t we are not going to get to the semi-final.”
England have to check on Saka’s “slight knock” ahead of the match in Rome, where the temperature will still be around 27 degrees Celsius come kick-off.
We want to enjoy it, says Southgate
Southgate has enviable strength in depth to deal with such concerns and hopes to give the nation something to smile about again on Saturday.
“I’ve said before we have the opportunity to give people special days and Tuesday was a special day and one that, frankly, everybody needed,” he said.
“I don’t think that burden can sit entirely with a group of young players. Other people are going to have to help us out at some point – but we’ve got a great chance to allow people to enjoy the ride.
“We want to enjoy it, we are very focused on where we want to head, we’re not satisfied with where we’ve got to – but we have to deliver that.
“We know now there is an understandable increase in expectation from everybody else and I’ve got to manage that for the players, make sure they stay composed, not anxious about what this could be.
“It’s totally about staying in the present and focusing on this immediate challenge ahead of us.”
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