England are ready to rip up their Euro 2020 winning formula on Tuesday night by deploying a three-man defence against Germany.
Gareth Southgate has used a back four in all three of England’s group matches but Sportsmail understands he is giving serious thought to switching formations.
Southgate is looking at using a 3-4-3 system at Wembley, a formation he used en route to finishing in fourth place at the last World Cup.
The fact that Germany also play with a back three is likely to have been a contributing factor behind Southgate altering his tactics.
The back three is likely to be the same players Southgate selected to play in those positions in Russia — Harry Maguire, John Stones and Kyle Walker. Southgate complained about England’s lack of quality from set-pieces — an issue that could open the door to Kieran Trippier making his second start of the tournament.
Luke Shaw will be hopeful of the nod on the left flank after his promising display against the Czech Republic last week.
Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice are set to keep their place in central midfield.
Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling — England’s two senior attackers — are also expected to keep their place in the team.
But the identity of the final forward is understood to be a major dilemma for Southgate heading into Tuesday night’s game with Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden vying for a place in the starting XI.
Southgate could yet spring a surprise by selecting Mason Mount, despite the fact that he has not completed a full group session with the rest of the squad since last Monday due to COVID-19 restrictions.
In normal circumstances, Mount would be almost certain of starting against the Germans but he hasn’t trained fully with the squad prior to England’s biggest game in three years which is a major concern for Southgate.
If the England manager were to select Mount, then England could conceivably use a back four. But indications last night were that Mount and Ben Chilwell — who has also been self-isolating — would have to settle for places on the bench.