England boss Gareth Southgate has plenty of selection issues to deal with before their Euro 2020 opener with Croatia… but who should the Three Lions boss pick according to the stats?
Form, fitness, even formation – Gareth Southgate has it all to ponder as the days tick down until England’s Euro 2020 opener against Croatia on Sunday.
With Harry Maguire still missing through injury, who is the best centre-back partner for John Stones? Should Southgate revert to a three-man defence?
And how to find space for Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling and the rest of England’s exciting attacking options?
To help the England boss solve some of these dilemmas, Sportsmail has teamed up with LCP and Analytics FC to crunch the numbers.
Their analytics platform, TransferLab, is used by 17 clubs and agencies – including five Premier League teams – to analyse player performance. Here’s who they suggest Southgate should pick.
Sportsmail has teamed up with an analytics group to help Gareth Southgate’s selection woes
The England manager has several selection headaches across several areas of the pitch
THREE AT THE BACK
You might think Conor Coady is an obvious fit, having marshalled a Wolves back three. But TransferLab data suggests the value of Coady’s ball-playing ability is outweighed by his defensive shortcomings.
Instead, they suggest Ben White — also used to a back three at Brighton — and Tyrone Mings should partner John Stones.
At left wing-back, the numbers show Luke Shaw edges Ben Chilwell (he helped create more chances at Manchester United than Chilwell managed for Chelsea).
TransferLab also prefers Jordan Henderson to Declan Rice.
In this formation, Reece James and Luke Shaw are still, statistically, England’s best full backs, and the numbers back Mings and Stones in central defence.
Again Mount partners Henderson (or Philips) in the middle, with Grealish in the No 10 role.
Over to you, Gareth.