The importance of England's formation change should not be overlooked


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John Stones is confident in England’s ability to switch to a three-man backline as they prepare to face Switzerland in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals without Marc Guehi.

The Three Lions secured their place among the final eight teams in the tournament after recording a tight 2-1 win over Slovakia in extra-time on Sunday. Their success means they will now face Switzerland on Saturday in Dusseldorf, albeit with a different lineup than before.

Crystal Palace star Guehi, who has played every minute of England’s Euro campaign so far and has been arguably the star of the team so far, is suspended for the upcoming game after being shown his second yellow card of the tournament.

His suspension has led manager Gareth Southgate to trial a switch to a back three, which could see Trent Alexander-Arnold reintroduced at wing-back and perhaps even the first appearance of Luke Shaw, who is believed to be ready to return from his five-month injury absence.

This idea, however, does not phase centre-back Stones, who feels confident in his nation’s ability to change formation.

Harry KaneHarry Kane

England claimed last-minute success against Slovakia / Carl Recine/GettyImages

“We’ve got to improve as a team, and how we’re playing our football,” he said. “We worked really hard on doing that, and getting the best out of us as players and as a collective. It’s been a great few days.”

When asked if he would address Southgate on his ideas to create a three-man backline, he said: “I’ve not spoken to him about it, I wouldn’t go to him with potentially a big decision like that.

“We’ve done it in previous tournaments before though, Germany, I remember, the last Euros previously to that in 2018. I think it’s a great thing to have in the locker for us as a team, if we need to go to that and play that system.

“It’s something that shouldn’t be underestimated for us as a team, that we can do it so easily and seamlessly, and kind of click together.”

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