Gareth Southgate is set to ring the changes for England’s friendly with Germany tonight as Michael Keane is expected to make his international debut as part of a new-look three man defence.
Southgate insisted that his team must show more adaptability in his Tuesday press conference and he is making the changes to back up his words in his first game since officially becoming Sam Allardyce’s successor.
It’s expected that England will line up in a 3-5-2 for the trip to Signal Iduna Park, with Keane, Jake Livermore and Chris Smalling all getting unexpected starting births.
Gary Cahill be the stand-in skipper, with regular captain Wayne Rooney injured and Jordan Henderson also missing out due to a long-term problem.
It will be the much-awaited clash with the Auld Enemy that Southgate will test out the new system, which has worked wonders for Antonio Conte at Chelsea in the Premier League this season.
In his press conference, the former Middlesbrough manager stressed the importance of variety in modern football saying: “We’ve got to be open minded to anything. The best teams I played in with England we had tactical flexibility”
“I think the game is more and more (about) pressing in different ways, playing out from the back in different ways, more one versus one defending. Teams are brave in the way they defend to get on the front foot. There is a lot of decision making for players and one of the keys for us is to have players who are going to make decisions and good decisions under pressure.”
The Three Lions suffered another injury set-back on Tuesday when Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling missed the training session, but Southgate was keen to make clear his priorities.
“I’ve got to balance what is right for Wednesday and what is right for Sunday as well, so we’ll keep monitoring that. We are in a position where we haven’t been able to get all the players on the field until today and then you’ve got to see how they come through training. It’s a little bit later than we’d have liked but that’s the nature of it.”
Meanwhile, former Arsenal attacker Lukas Podolski will make his last appearance for the German National team tonight and has been given the captain’s armband to celebrate the occasion.
German boss Joachim Loew paid tribute to Podolski saying: “It’s not easy to replace Podolski in the team. He is unique. He is one of the greatest players that Germany has produced.”
England will be looking to make it two straight wins over Germany for the first time since a seven-match winning run from 1954 and 1966 in the 7.45pm kick-off.
Written by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)