England face Italy in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley on Sunday evening after coming from behind to see off Denmark in extra-time of their last-four clash.
It will be the first time the men’s England side have played in a major final since winning the World Cup in 1966 – a gap of 55 years.
Southgate will follow in the footsteps of Sir Alf Ramsey by taking charge for such an occasion but if they are to win the European Championship for the first time, England will have to beat a side which has not tasted defeat since September 2018.
With that in mind, we have asked our team of football writers to reveal who they would like to see Southgate pick to take on the Azzurri. Tell us what you think in the comments section below and join the debate.
The rhythm of the tournament has shown that despite not picking the same XI for three years, Gareth Southgate has been consistent. The only spot really up for grabs, unless he changes the system, is who is on the right of the three behind Harry Kane. It feels that Phil Foden may be the ideal starter against Italy with so many options off the bench.
Euro 2020 final: Jason Burt’s England team to face Italy
It’s taken a while but Gareth Southgate has got his team. Who would have thought this was how it ends – but this is a tournament and things change and develop. This XI has the confidence and the discipline to carry out the plan. They press well and they are so physically fit. Italy are a whole different challenge, and so too will this England side be for Italy.
Euro 2020 final: Sam Wallace’s England team to face Italy
The only change I’d make is bringing in Phil Foden for Bukayo Saka, who was lucky to start the semi-final over the Manchester City midfielder. England have a day less to prepare but they are a very fit team and have real momentum and I can’t see the need to make any more changes. Jack Grealish, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho as impact substitutes is quite something.
Euro 2020 final: James Ducker’s England team to face Italy
No changes. The main consideration was whether to bring in Phil Foden to help England win the midfield battle, but left-back Emerson Palmieri is an obvious weak link in the Italian defence and could be vulnerable to Bukayo Saka’s skill and speed. I would even be tempted to swap Saka and Raheem Sterling, putting Sterling on the right.
Euro 2020 final: Sam Dean’s England team to face Italy
The Telegraph’s Merseyside correspondent says Liverpool captain should start the final. What a shock! I know, I know. But Jordan Henderson was good – really, really good – when he came on in the last two games, and that freshness could be decisive. Otherwise, same again.
Euro 2020 final: Chris Bascombe’s England team to face Italy
Gareth Southgate has had success by adapting his personnel to the opposition, using wing-backs against the better teams, and Italy are certainly the strongest side England have faced. It makes sense, then, to revert to a more cautious starting XI that still has the pace to get behind opponents and, crucially, has outstanding attacking variation from the bench.
Euro 2020 final: Jeremy Wilson’s England team to face Italy
There was a glimpse of England playing fantasy football for a few minutes against Denmark with Jack Grealish and Phil Foden on the pitch together and I’d love that, but pragmatism wins. I’d drop Bukayo Saka and Mason Mount and maybe bring Jordan Henderson in for Declan Rice but I can’t see Gareth Southgate doing all three so it will probably be the same again. However, if I were England manager it would be this.
Euro 2020 final: Luke Edwards’ England team to face Italy
Italy looked vulnerable to pace against Spain and had an average first half. I’d go for it with three quick players behind Harry Kane who can drop off, Spurs-style. The trio can rotate positions and run in behind. Win it in the first half then shore up with sensible subs. Easy!
Euro 2020 final: Thom Gibbs’ England team to face Italy
I still feel Kieran Trippier has been underused at this tournament, but there is little doubt Kyle Walker assured himself of a final place with two telling challenges in the first 10 minutes against Denmark, and with his pace throughout. I would argue that Jadon Sancho should also start ahead of Bukayo Saka. It might run contrary to the lavish plaudits Saka has received at these Euros, but he was anonymous in the semi-final.
Euro 2020 final: Oliver Brown’s England team to face Italy
Now have your say…
Our writers have picked who they would like to see take on Italy in Sunday’s final, but do you agree? Have a go yourself at picking an England XI with our formation builder and join the debate in the comments section below.
Euro 2020 final: Pick your England team to face Italy