England boss Gareth Southgate has been urged to select Jadon Sancho on the right-side of a three-man attack against Denmark in Wednesday’s Euro 2020 semi-final.
The new Manchester United signing starred in the last eight win over Ukraine, which was his first start of the tournament.
The third attacking slot – alongside Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling – has been rotated across Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Bukayo Saka and Sancho so far this tournament.
Foden was selected in the games against Croatia and Scotland, while Grealish started against Czech Republic and Saka was chosen for the Round of 16 win over Germany.
Most of Southgate’s starting line-up is almost – barring injuries and suspensions – cast in stone, with the third attacking slot the position to change hands most frequently.
Former England striker Chris Sutton, writing in The Mail, has praised Sancho’s performance against Ukraine and believes he is the best candidate to start against Denmark.
Sutton wrote: “Gareth Southgate’s use of Jadon Sancho against Ukraine was the first time England had started a right-footed player on their right-hand side at Euro 2020.
“Southgate wanted width and decided Sancho would deliver that, given he wouldn’t be cutting inside into bodies as much as a left-footer like Bukayo Saka or Phil Foden would.
“Sancho was successful in stretching the five-man Ukrainian back line in that way. His touch map shows how closely he was operating to that touchline. He practically had chalk on his boots.
“But Sancho was not only fixed to that right flank. He and Raheem Sterling had permission to swap sides on occasion.
“But now Southgate must decide who deserves to start on the right against Denmark.
“He could stand by Sancho. Or bring back Foden, who came into Euro 2020 with that Gazza-inspired blond hair but hasn’t appeared since the Scotland game. Or give a chance to Jack Grealish, who would never say no to doing a job on the right.
“Or start Saka, who is the best option when it comes to defensive duties. Southgate knows that, having used Saka as a wing-back previously.
“Down Denmark’s left-hand side is a very talented wing-back. Joakim Maehle produced one of the assists of the tournament when, with the outside of his right boot, he set up Kasper Dolberg to make it 2-0 against the Czech Republic.
“Only one player has made more dribbles at this tournament than Maehle and that’s Kylian Mbappe. He isn’t afraid to shoot and has got himself two goals.
“Saka could help Walker double up on Maehle if needed. The 19-year-old Arsenal sensation would have no issues with doing that.”
Sutton then highlighted that Denmark’s set-up – which is likely to remain a 3-4-2-1 formation for the Wembley clash – is similar to that of Ukraine’s on Saturday.
Andriy Shevchenko’s side played three central defenders in the quarter-final before abandoning the system after an early injury.
Sutton believes that Sancho’s pace, directness and dynamism can cause Denmark problems.
He added: “Looking at Denmark’s set-up, which isn’t dissimilar to Ukraine’s, I can see Southgate sticking with Sancho.
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“He can provide that width against another back five. It worked last time and it can work this time.
“It isn’t as if Sancho would refuse to track back or help Walker with Maehle. If Southgate told him to, he would.
“Some positions are non-negotiable. Jordan Pickford stays in goal. Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw stay in defence (why fix what isn’t broken?), while Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips stay in midfield, no doubt with Mason Mount somewhere nearby. Harry Kane starts as striker, and Sterling on the left.
“Who starts on the right is a particular point of interest.
“You probably have your own candidate, but Sancho looks the logical choice to me.”