Gareth Southgate is making just one change to his team for England’s Euro 2020 final against Italy at Wembley, but the decision he’s made has pretty large consequences.
In opting for the natural full-back Kieran Trippier over the more versatile Bukayo Saka, Southgate has indicated that his side will line up with three centre-backs in a 3-4-3 system.
Trippier’s inclusion on the right of what is effectively a midfield four means that Kyle Walker will drop back alongside John Stones and Harry Maguire in defence, with Luke Shaw then stationed on the left.
That will leave Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips in midfield, with Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane as England’s most advanced attackers.
The decision to revert to three at the back, which is effectively five, points to Southgate expressing caution at coming up against an Italian side who have attacked impressively during this tournament.
Roberto Mancini’s men have scored 12 goals in the competition so far, and Southgate would appear to be conceding that it could well be the Italians who have more of the ball during what will doubtless be a tense evening.
The England boss has called on England’s fans to roar the team to success at Wembley, citing how the atmosphere at the stadium has evolved over the years.
“When we started, three or four years ago we had people throwing paper aeroplanes, they weren’t behind the team and there was an apathy,” he said at his final press conference before the game on Saturday.
“Now the energy in the stadium is fantastic. That is so important.
“The players need to feel that warmth and support. It has definitely helped inspire us.
“Over the last four years the players have knocked down so many barriers, they’ve come through so many different challenges.”
Italy boss Mancini, meanwhile, says he is not feeling the nerves ahead of the game.
“The first match was difficult, but this is the final, it’s different,” he said.
“I’m not agitated, maybe tomorrow (Sunday) I’ll be more. This moment will be important for me, I hope to have the success that I did not have as a player in blue.
“We have to be calm, we know it will be difficult but we have to be focused on our game. We have to have fun, it’s the last game. To do it we have to perform for the 90 minutes.
“I am happy with the work that (Ciro) Immobile, (Andrea) Belotti, (Giacomo) Raspadori and the others have done. They have given more than 100%. We need one last effort, we hope to have fun and then go on holiday.”
Expected England team: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Rice, Phillips, Shaw; Mount, Sterling, Kane.
Expected Italy team: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson; Verratti, Jorginho, Barella; Insigne, Chiesa, Immobile.