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Might Southgate's England revert to a 3-4-3 formation?

Sunday 22nd January 2017
England is due to take on Lithuania in a World Cup Qualifier this March with new Manager Gareth Southgate looking to build a team who can challenge for football's biggest prize. But before then, there is a friendly with international giants Germany.

Usually, the National side have stuck with a 4-4-2 formation with manager's shying away from trying anything different. The diamond has been flirted with, as has a 4-3-3. But with the revelation of the 3-4-3 formation taking football by storm this season, could we finally see a manager in Gareth Southgate who will be brave enough to switch it around and try something new? The Germany clash could be an ideal opportunity to do this.

Well, he has failed to do this so far. However, with so many Clubs trying three at the back with wing backs this season and so many becoming successful at it, it really must be time for England to at least look at this option.

It is always difficult for a National side due to not ever getting enough time on the training ground to implement and work on such changes. When you look at teams like Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham, who are arguably the Premier League's best current performers, they both utilised this new formation gradually in training and it was a transition that took time.

This could also work in England's favour, as many of the players playing in the above sides using this formation, will also be starting for England so are more than used to their roles now, their positioning and how to be a success there.

For me, England have the talent to be an excellent 3-4-3 formation team. When you look at the likes of Eric Dier, who has been used as one of the three Centre Backs at Tottenham this season, he can drop in at the back perhaps alongside Chelsea Vice Captain Gary Cahill, who has also been doing so well as part of the three and then maybe either John Stones if he can recover his poor form or another option such as Ryan Shawcross or Phil Jagielka.
You then must have two robust, solid and dynamic Centre Midfielders, which is where England might possibly struggle. Jordan Henderson has been injured, but when in form he would be a great option here. But then the second choice would be more difficult as so many of England's midfielders are attack minded.

Jack Wilshere has been in better form for Bournemouth and could certainly be an option there. But for me, it would need to be more of a holding type Midfielder. Michael Carrick could certainly be a decent shout, playing well for Manchester United under Jose Mourinho this term and also bringing that vital experience to a young Squad.

And why not look at some lesser talked about holding players who are doing well for their Clubs this term such as Adam Clayton at Middlesborough, Mark Noble at West Ham, Ryan Mason at Hull, Dan Gosling at Bournemouth or Danny Drinkwater at Leicester. All good options.

But for me, I would go with Nathaniel Chalobah at Chelsea. I realise he needs to be starting regular games and there is no way he'd get picked just now. But by next season, I fully expect him to be in there, in that role. He has everything about his game that would make him a success in that position.

The Wing Backs would be obvious for me there aren't any better English choices right now than Danny Rose and Kyle Walker, who are both proving essential for Spurs this season. Nathaniel Clyne and Ryan Bertrand, however, are hot on their toes.

As a front three, I believe it would have to be Adam Lallana, Dele Alli and Harry Kane. Again, these three have been outstanding this season and all work well together.

I believe that this team, in this formation, can do a hell of a lot more than disappoint the English public, which seems to be the norm far too often.
Simon Phillips
Football Writer for the last 7 years, specialising in the English Premier League and covering a wide range of topics.

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