Gareth Southgate could start four full-backs for England’s Euro 2020 opener against Croatia.
Former England international Lee Dixon told talkSPORT he’s been in contact with the Three Lions boss and revealed Luke Shaw is in the equation to start as a centre-back.
Shaw, Ben Chilwell, Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier are all in line to feature for the Three Lions in the Group D clash at Wembley – live on talkSPORT.
The United ace could be deployed in the back-three as he looks to plug the hole left by Harry Maguire, who is still sidelined after sustaining an ankle injury with the Red Devils in May.
Southgate has got his side training in a 3-4-3 formation, with one combination featuring Shaw at centre-half – a position he deputised in on occasion for the Red Devils during the 2020/21 campaign.
Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell is expected to slot in as a left-wing back, with LaLiga title winner with Atletico Madrid Kieran Trippier occupying the opposite flank.
Kyle Walker, meanwhile, will likely fill in as the right sided centre-back next to his Man City teammate John Stones, who will play in the middle of the back-three.
Southgate has never used Shaw in this system in his five-year reign as England boss, showing just how much of a headache the Maguire injury has proved to be ahead of the tournament.
Speaking on talkSPORT Breakfast, Dixon said he’s been in direct contact with Southgate and the England boss is keen to ensure the backline is fully protected.
The former Arsenal man said: “He wants to be protestive of the goal a little bit more. Luke Shaw on that side has popped up a couple of times and he’s played there for Man United.
“I know he’s not been playing with a three at the back because he’s trying to give people minutes but I think he will go down that road – Shaw is certainly in the mix for that.”
Stones is a definite for the central defender position, despite Tyrone Mings playing at centre-back in the warm-up matches against Austria and Romania.
Conor Coady and Ben White are also options in central defence, with the latter the last to be called up to the 26-man squad after Trent Alexander-Arnold’s injury.
Southgate has got a headache with his attacking formation, too, with so much attacking talent at his disposal.
The Three Lions have one of their strongest squads in years and their exciting young attacking talent has made them among the favourites to win the competition.
Southgate has been experimenting with different line-ups in friendlies against Austria and Romania and it’s still not known what his preferred starting XI is.
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