After Germany set up a mouth-watering last-16 clash with England at the Euros, talk has immediately turned to the Wembley showdown between the old rivals and Gary Neville has already urged the Three Lions to change up their formation.
Former England and Manchester United right back Neville has suggested Gareth Southgate switches from four at the back to a 5-2-3 formation, with two wing backs in the shape of Reece James and Luke Shaw.
But more surprisingly, Neville opted against one of either Jack Grealish or Phil Foden, and placed his confidence in Bukayo Saka instead following his Man of the Match display in the 1-0 win against Czech Republic in the final group game.
Phil Foden (L) and Jack Grealish were left out of Gary Neville’s England XI to face Germany
Neville took to Twitter to reveal who he would select, and he opted for five at the back
Saturday 26 June
Sunday 27 June
Monday 28 June
Neville also wants to see Kyle Walker, John Stones and Harry Maguire in a central defensive three, Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice keep their place in holding midfield while Raheem Sterling starts up top with Saka either side of Harry Kane.
While backing up his team selection, Neville – who also notably left out Mason Mount who is a doubt for next week’s clash while he continues his period of isolation – insisted: ‘Wing backs to match up/engage Germany’s.
‘Saka and Sterling left higher in channels vs Germany wide CB. Rice/Phillips onto Kroos/Gundogan.’
But Neville’s preferred XI didn’t go down too well with everyone, and former Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere made his feelings clear with regards to the absence of Grealish and Foden.
Alongside some shocked face emojis, Wilshere replied to Neville’s tweet on Thursday morning: ‘No Grealish or Foden. England’s most talented/creative…
‘At least one has to play! Probably Grealish to help us retain ball and carry it up the pitch. Come on Gaz.’
But Neville’s England XI to take on their old rivals didn’t go down too well with everyone
Jack Wilshere insisted that one of either Grealish or Foden had to start against Germany
Edwin van der Sar joked that his former United team-mate left out a goalkeeper from his XI
After Wilshere’s reply, Neville asked to see who he would start against Germany – and the midfielder picked Grealish up top instead of Saka while moving the Arsenal star into the left-wing back position and surprisingly leaving Maguire out for Tyrone Mings instead.
When detailing why he chose that team, Wilshere said: ‘There you go mate…. Sterling instead of Foden because he is our only goalscorer atm.
‘Lets have a go and take control, get an early goal then make changes. Remember we have 5 subs.’
Others, meanwhile, took a more light-hearted approach when giving their thoughts to Neville following his favoured XI, which has thrown up plenty of debate.
Neville’s former United team-mate and goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar poked fun at him after he only named 10 outfield players, tweeting: ‘No Goalkeeper then?’
Wilshere then sent his favoured XI back to Neville on Twitter, starting Grealish in a front three
Germany will take on their old rivals England at Wembley after rescuing a 2-2 draw against Hungary thanks to Leon Goretzka’s late equaliser, to ensure they finished second in Group F behind world champions France.
Southgate will face many selection dilemmas heading into next Tuesday’s enthralling encounter.
But the subject of playing either Grealish or Foden is set to dominate plenty of the build-up following the 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic.
In the absence of Foden from the matchday squad, Grealish starred in his first start for England at the Euros – setting up Raheem Sterling’s early opener with a brilliant chipped cross to the back post.
Fitting both Foden and Grealish will be a tough ask for Southgate, given the need to be defensively aware against a German side full of attacking talent.
Neville has placed his trust in Bukayo Saka after his stand-out display against Czech Republic
But Saka’s stand-out performance against the Czechs also gave Southgate food for thought, with the Arsenal youngster more than taking his opportunity after being left out of the previous two line-ups.
And following the win on Tuesday, Neville stated his excellent display will have inspired his team-mates as well as put pressure on the likes of Foden for their first-team place in the squad.
‘I’m hoping Foden is watching Saka and thought that’s what we expect from him’, the former England right back said.
‘He’s driving at people, that’s what we expected from Foden in the first two games but we didn’t get it, we know how exceptional he is.
‘I think Saka could have inspired his team-mates tonight.’