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England vs Italy LIVE: Nations League team news, line-ups and more tonight


Southgate: An embarrassment England playing behind closed doors

England and Italy meet once more, this time in the Uefa Nations League after the dramatic penalty shoot-out between the two in last summer’s Euro 2020 final. Then, it was the Azzurri who triumphed – but they failed to build on that success as Roberto Mancini’s side lost in a World Cup qualifying play-off. They will not be at Qatar 2022 as a result, where England will attempt to reach a third successive major tournament semi-final at the very least, having qualified with ease.

Gareth Southgate’s outfit have not had quite as positive a time of matters in the Nations League so far, losing to Hungary and drawing with Germany across two games in the past week. Harry Kane netted his 50th England goal in the latter, from the penalty spot, and is now just three off Wayne Rooney in the all-time scoring list.

Italy are still searching for the right combinations in attack after injuries to the likes of Nicolo Zaniolo, Domenico Berardi and – on a longer-term basis – Federico Chiesa. England will make changes of their own though, with Southgate noting the unsual timing of four quickfire games. “Teams are thinking about player welfare to a degree, freshness, but also they are preparing for a World Cup because they know what’s coming and what they haven’t got in terms of friendlies ahead of the tournament,” he noted. Follow all the build-up, team news and match action for England vs Italy below:

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Gareth Southgate to make England changes for Italy match due to ‘player welfare’

The manager referenced how many of the major nations like Spain and France made between seven and 10 changes for what he described as “a unique set of games”. Aaron Ramsdale and Tammy Abraham will potentially start at the expense of Jordan Pickford and Harry Kane, respectively, with Southgate stating he will seek to use both in at least one of the two remaining games.

While the England manager again acknowledged that runs the risk of a poor result and criticism, he reiterated his decision-making has to go beyond that, especially in a World Cup year. Speaking figuratively, Southgate said some of the players could “barely walk in the dressing room”, after a “phenomenal effort” coming back to draw 1-1 away to Germany.

Asked whether he would make changes, Southgate said: “I think we will because I think you have seen right across Europe – France changed 10, Spain changed eight, Portugal changed seven. So this is quite a unique set of games where teams are thinking about player welfare to a degree, freshness, but also they are preparing for a World Cup because they know what’s coming and what they haven’t got in terms of friendlies ahead of the tournament. So strategically it’s a bit of a unique situation and I think you are seeing it right across Europe”.

Karl Matchett11 June 2022 12:20

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England vs Italy latest team news and how to watch

Here are all the details in quick fashion ahead of tonight’s game:

England against Italy kicks off at 7:45pm BST on Saturday 11 June at Molineux.

All England’s Nations League games are now free-to-air and shown live on Channel 4. The game can be streamed via the All 4 platform apps and desktop website.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has been allowed to leave the squad as planned, while James Justin is a doubt after injury. Phil Foden has Covid so is still sidelined, but Fikayo Tomori could be ready for inclusion after injury. Kalvin Phillips came off against Germany though and it remains to be seen whether he has recovered.

Italy are without a host of options since the international break started included Moise Kean, Nicolo Zaniolo and Domenico Berardi. Giorgio Chiellini has retired from international action, but Leonardo Bonucci is set for a return.

Karl Matchett10 June 2022 11:07

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Italy pose regular reminder that England have yet to find midfielder to truly control possession

Andrea Pirlo was underlining why ‘the Yorkshire Pirlo’ wasn’t really the Yorkshire Pirlo. He was complimentary about Kalvin Phillips, and sent the Leeds midfielder a message of good luck, but argued he had no equivalent on these shores.

“In England, there’s never been this kind of player,” he said. “There have been great midfielders over the years with different skills. There’s the boy at Leeds who’s a bit of a regista, but… we’re a bit different. He doesn’t have the same characteristics I had. You’ve always had box-to-box midfielders, like Frank Lampard.”

Pirlo used to specialise in illustrating what England were missing. He was the elegant intellectual who played the game his own way, all technique and no physique as the ball did the running for him. He was a one-man indictment of Roy Hodgson’s England. And years later, when Pirlo had already come and gone as Juventus manager, when England had been transformed into a far more progressive team, his analysis underlined a familiar shortcoming: England’s possession problem.

It was proved by Pirlo’s successors, the twin registas who helped Italy win Euro 2020, in Jorginho and Marco Verratti. Go back to last summer’s final and the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Verratti completed more passes, some 111, than Phillips, Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson, Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka and Kieran Trippier did between them. And if not all are central midfielders, if most did not play 120 minutes, neither did Verratti, who went off with 25 remaining.

England may be grateful that a rematch with Italy on Saturday is not a reunion with old tormentors. Jorginho and Verratti left the Azzurri squad after the Finalissima. Another chastening night may have been averted; but perhaps only postponed.

Because tournament life for England in the last decade has tended to come with one glaring reminder of the type of player England lack, the sort of cerebral tempo-setter who takes and gives the ball, sometimes seemingly with little purpose, but who wrestles control of the game with their own composure.

Rich Jolly discusses England’s lack of a midfield metronome:

Karl Matchett10 June 2022 10:40

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