England vs Slovenia: Team news, predicted XI and the difficult decisions Gareth Southgate must make

Southgate has plenty to ponder (Picture: Franco Arland/Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate finds himself under mounting pressure as England prepare for their final group match of Euro 2024 against Slovenia on Tuesday.

The Three Lions limped to a dismal draw against Denmark in Frankfurt on Thursday evening in a performance devoid of any intensity, with their inability to retain possession a huge concern even at this early stage of the competition.

The draw saw England miss the chance to seal qualification for the knockout stages as group winners. A win 1-0 over Serbia in their opening game means they are still in pole position to achieve that, but Tuesday’s clash with Slovenia no longer looks as routine as it might have done a week ago.

Southgate named the same starting XI for those games against Serbia and Denmark and is now facing growing calls to made drastic changes to his side.

England vs Slovenia team news and injuries

The good news for Southgate is that he is an almost fully-fit squad to choose from. His only injury concern is a fairly major one however with Luke Shaw still not ready. Kieran Trippier has started at left-back so far in Germany with Joe Gomez, frequently deployed int hat role for Liverpool last season, an unused substitute off thus far.

Amid the many problems on show against Denmark, England’s lack of width down the left was a concern with Shaw’s presence down that flank instrumental for club and country over the years when he is fit.

Shaw has not played any football since February (Picture: FA via Getty Images)

The Manchester United left-back has not played any football since February due to a hamstring injury however and was once again absent from first-team training on Friday.

Shaw is thought to have been integral to Southgate’s original plans and the manager had hoped to be able to use him off the bench against Slovenia.

However, his continued absence from training casts doubt on that.

Elsewhere, Southgate faces calls to drop Jude Bellingham into a deeper midfield role alongside Declan Rice, allowing Phil Foden to take up his preferred central role in attack. The England boss has suggested he will make changes to the side, making the rather alarming admission they are not at the physical level to carry out his demands.

‘It’s because we are not pressing well enough, with enough intensity,’ said Southgate when asked why England’s performances have dipped. ‘We have limitations in how we can do that with the physical condition. We can’t press as high up the pitch as we might have done in the qualifiers for example.

England wilted against Denmark (Picture: Getty Images)

‘And we are not keeping the ball well enough. It is as simple as that. We have to keep the ball better and build with more control. Then we will be defending less and we’ll have more confidence.

‘We’ll have a look at everything. We felt the right thing to do was to give confidence to the players we picked in the first game. We had won the previous game, the guys who came in for the previous game, we were very happy with what they contributed so we have to do the same process after this match. We’ll look at the performance and look at the next opponent and find the best solutions for the next game.’

Predicted line-up for England vs Slovenia

The predicted starting XI vs Slovenia is: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Guehi, Trippier, Rice, Gallagher, Saka, Bellingham, Gordon, Kane

Could Harry Kane be dropped?

Harry Kane opened the scoring against Denmark on Thursday but laboured through the second-half. His penchant for persistently dropping deep left his team starved of an out ball, creating more problems in midfield than solving them.

After 70 minutes, he was replaced by Ollie Watkins. Within minutes, the introduction of the Aston Villa star injected some life into the performance, latching onto Jude Bellingham’s ball with Kasper Schmeichel forced into a decent save.

Kane struggled up front (Picturer: Franco Arland/Getty Images)

The end of the Alexander-Arnold experiment

Southgate named Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield alongside Declan Rice in both the Serbia and Denmark games. But the sight of the Liverpool star being replaced eight minutes into the second-half would suggest that experiment is over.

Conor Gallagher, who also came on late on in the first game, replaced Alexander-Arnold and will be hopeful of a starting berth. Manchester United’s Kobbie Mainoo or Crystal Palace sensation Adam Wharton could offer some much-needed control and poise in the middle of the park.

Cole Palmer or Anthony Gordon to come in?

Both Cole Palmer and Anthony Gordon have watched on from the dugout in the opening two games and will be desperate to make their mark.

Gordon has been watching on from the bench (Picture: AMA/Getty Images)

After an anonymous performance against Serbia, Phil Foden showed more promise after coming inside against Denmark before being subbed off – he deserves another chance to impress but Anthony Gordon would certainly provide the width and pace England have so solely lacked down the left.

Cole Palmer, who scored 27 times in his debut season for Chelsea, could provide the spark England need whether it is through the middle or on the left or right of attack.

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