England’s starting eleven for the Euro 2020 final has been announced, and sees Gareth Southgate change the team’s formation from the semi-final fixture with Denmark.
Coming into the team is right back Kieran Trippier, swapped for semi-final starter Bukayo Saka, suggesting England will line up with five man defence.
Southgate has often opted for a 4-3-3 system during the tournament but moved to five at the back for the last-16 fixture with Germany.
It was a risky move that initially caused some concern among commentators, but one which paid off and won the manager some respect when England prevailed with a 2-0 victory.
Former England manager Steve McClaren told Sky Sports News: “Brave call by Gareth. Only did it once in the tournament, against Germany, and that was a massive call. It worked, it needs to work again.”
“I think, why has he done that – Gareth is very pragmatic,” added McClaren.
“I’ve been saying all along, it’s about ‘how do we win this game over 95 minutes, extra-time, penalties’, and he knows he has to stay in the game, keep it tight. Clean sheets win you games.”
Former England goalkeeper David Seaman admitted he was “surprised” at the expected England line-up for tonight’s Euros final.
Seaman, a former England teammate of Southgate, said he thought the Three Lions boss would name an unchanged side from the semi-final victory over Denmark.
“He knows what he’s doing. By going with three at the back, does that mean we’re going to be more attacking?” asked Seaman.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to attack the Italians down the wings, that’s where they’re a little bit vulnerable, and hopefully get some crosses into Harry Kane.”
Gareth Southgate has told fans their “support and energy has given us a huge lift” as the team prepares to take on Italy.
In a video message released with hours to go before kick-off at Wembley, Southgate thanked fans for their “incredible support”.
The final tonight between England and Italy will be the first time Wembley has hosted a major final since Euro 96, when Germany beat Czech Republic in the final.
The previous occasion was at the 1966 World Cup, the last time England won a major international football tournament.
Thousands of England fans have began gathering outside Wembley Stadium as the team prepares to try to end 55 years of hurt and police are now urging anyone without tickets not to travel there.
Metropolitan Police said the Wembley area is “extremely busy” and officers are “engaging with crowds and to keep people safe”.