Gareth Southgate faces a selection dilemma ahead of England’s Euro quarter-finals with four players in disciplinary problems.
Harry Maguire, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips and Phil Foden are all just one yellow card from missing the semi-finals if England can get past Ukraine in Rome on Saturday.
Maguire, Rice and Phillips were all warned during the Three Lions’ historic win over Germany at Wembley, although all of them managed to finish the game without a scary second.
UEFA tournament rules mean yellow cards from the Group stages through to the quarter-finals over for the semi-finals and final but it will leave Southgate wondering whether to rest any of them, especially with two central midfielders getting yellow cards.
Jordan Henderson could replace Rice or Phillips while Mason Mount – available again after ten days of self-isolation – is also being considered for a return.
Southgate has shown he is keeping an eye on the players with a yellow card, having left Foden from the last group game with the Czech Republic.
The Manchester City star has started the first two games of the tournament, but was left out of the squad against the Czechs and was an unused substitute against Germany.
“He got a yellow card and considering we looked like we were going to lose two players [Mount and Chilwell] for the next round, I don’t want to risk the third one,” Southgate explained after leaving him out of the squad. “So it’s a shame for Phil but I think it’s a reasonable decision.”
England boss Gareth Southgate could also return to a back four with Kieran Trippier assessed after feeling a hamstring during the also worrying Germany game before the game.
Ukraine have put up a back three in the previous game, but England may want to bring more play to the team they are hoping to beat.
Shaun Botterill – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
On his decision to make the change against Germany, Southgate admitted that if it went wrong for his team, he would be railed against.
“You know that you change form, you choose certain personnel over others – if it’s wrong, you die,” he said immediately after the victory.
“We have to go the way we believe: we want aggressive pressure all over the pitch and we feel it’s the right way to do that to match them.”
There is also a big decision to be made on Jack Grealish after the Aston Villa captain made a huge impact off the bench in the last 16.
Grealish played a key role in Raheem Sterling’s opener, before setting up Harry Kane for the second – registering his second assist of the tournament.
But regarding the decision to keep him on the bench, Grealish stated. “It was a master class, wasn’t it?
“Fair game for the manager and the coaching staff, they changed it and we matched Germany. It worked for us. Probably our best performance at this Euro.”