ENGLAND manager Gareth Southgate has hinted at playing an attacking team against France.
The Three Lions take on the reigning world champions in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar on Saturday.
There has been much talk about whether Southgate will stick with the 4-3-3 he has fielded for every game at the tournament or if he will revert to the back five he played against Germany and Italy at last year’s Euros.
But the England head coach is adamant he wants his side to go at the holders in their pursuit of a place in the last four.
When asked by ITV whether he wants the attacking approach of his team to remain, he said: “Yeah without a doubt.
“There is no point going into a game like this and just covering up and sitting on the ropes. We believe we can cause problems with the ball and we intend to do that.
“We’ve beaten some big teams. We know we have the experience of high pressure nights behind us and as a team we’ve been resilient through a lot of situations but they all prepare you for nights like this.
“We got to the first final for 55 years, this is a quarterfinal. We’ve won a semi-final and been to a semi-final of the World Cup before.
“But, of course, it is a big game against a high quality opponent. Everything that has happened in the past is history, it all comes down to Saturday night.
“What they have been through and what they’ve learnt and the way we have gone about things in this tournament.
“They’ve understood what we have been trying to do, they’ve kept calm and shown belief in what they’ve been asked to do and shown a great mentality about the way they’ve played.
“Always these nights are the nights that bring millions of people together. They will remember where they were and we want to give them another night to be proud of.”
So, if Southgate does choose to continue with England’s front foot style, how will they line up against France?
SunSport has explored three offensive XIs that could start the match.
TRIED AND TESTED
Perhaps the most likely starting XI is the one which kicked off the win over Senegal.
Southgate brought Bukayo Saka back into the fold and kept the trio of Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham – an impressively balanced midfield that thrived against Wales and then also in the last-16 victory.
Saka has three goals to his name and is becoming undroppable, while Phil Foden produced another superb display on Sunday, so he is in line for a place in the attack.
It would be something of a surprise if the back four was changed.
RASHFORD FROM THE OFF
Marcus Rashford can count himself very unlucky not to have started the win over Senegal.
The Manchester United man bagged two goals against Wales but then had to settle for a place on the bench behind Saka in the last-16 as Foden switched to the left.
But now he could be called upon once more if Southgate opts to turn to the pacey forward to stretch the game from the off.
Another potential alteration is the introduction of Kieran Trippier at right-back.
Kyle Walker is widely considered to be the best option to combat the threat of Kylian Mbappe, but he has only just returned from injury in time for the tournament.
Southgate could surprise us all by dropping the Manchester City man and bringing in Trippier – who has been a loyal servant for the England boss since he took charge.
ALL OUT ATTACK
The third and final line-up that could be utilised by Southgate within this attacking 4-3-3 framework is an incredibly gung-ho approach.
That is to take Rice out and drop Bellingham into the holding midfield role.
The Borussia Dortmund teenager has been sensational at the World Cup so far, proving he is capable of pretty much anything.
And moving him to the base of the midfield would open up another spot in the attack, allowing Foden to come into the midfield and possibly creating a space on the left for Jack Grealish.