The England manager is giving serious consideration to switching to a 3-4-3 formation for the last 16 tie against Germany at Wembley on Tuesday, the nation against whom he first experimented with a back three in a friendly defeat over four years ago.
Southgate always intended to approach this tournament with three at the back as an option, not least as it brought success in the World Cup three years ago.
Gareth Southgate may consider switching to a back three against Germany in the last-16Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
The return of Harry Maguire and his partnership with John Stones is a big boost to England
But the unavailability of several key players in the warm-up matches against Austria and Romania last month meant there was little opportunity to perfect it so England began their campaign with an orthodox back four.
Circumstances have changed, however, with the return of Harry Maguire from injury meaning that his successful World Cup partnership with John Stones and Kyle Walker can be restored, while, with Germany using a 3-4-3 formation, the attraction of seeking to match it is obvious.
England have trained in that shape several times over the past few weeks, with Luke Shaw being used as an emergency centre back before Maguire returned to training, and now they have the personnel available to get the most out of the system if required.
If anything the switch would also enable Southgate to get his most trusted lieutenants into the side, while also solving the problem created by the expected unavailability of Mason Mount due to his 10-day self-isolation.
Southgate first tried-out the 3-4-3 system against Germany back in 2017, losing the game 1-0
England were successful with the 3-4-3 system in the 2018 World Cup, reaching the semi-finalInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Kieran Trippier’s dead-ball expertise has already seen him emerge as a serious contender for a place in the starting line-up in the knockout stages, and Shaw’s delivery should continue to be a source of improved service for