Gareth Southgate will be hoping to kick off England’s Euro 2020 campaign with a convincing win and all three points against Croatia on Sunday afternoon.
The England manager will undoubtedly enjoy a wealth of options and talent within his squad but it will be down to him to ensure that he can pick the right team and tactics to unlock an opponent that may not be at the same heights as the 2018 World Cup but will still undoubtedly have a threat about them.
Perhaps the biggest issue for Southgate going into the game will be how he sets up his defensive line.
Jordan Pickford will undoubtedly start between the posts, but the England manager has been shifting between a back three and a back four for the past few weeks and has yet to settle on one.
With Harry Maguire almost certain to miss the game through injury, we should see Luke Shaw start on the left and Kieran Trippier on the right of a back four, with John Stones partnered by Ben White in the middle of defence.
A similar fitness problem awaits Southgate in the middle of the pitch, with Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson still not fit to start the opening game of the tournament. In his stead we’re likely to see Declan Rice partner Kalvin Phullips to offer the kind of stability in the middle of the pitch that England will desperately need.
Southgate has a number of superb options in attack but may have to shuffle the pack and make some unorthodox decisions with injuries and fitness remaining an issue. Despite having more experienced players in his squad, we should see a start on the left wing for Jack Grealish, alongside Mason Mount in the No.10 position. Despite his poor run of form for Manchester City, Raheem Sterling is likely to remain a starter under Southgate.
Perhaps the only position that won’t give Southgate any headaches is up front, where Harry Kane will undoubtedly start and lead the line in typical fashion.