England vs Switzerland: Luke Shaw 'available to start' as Gareth Southgate addresses left-back dilemma

England vs Switzerland: Luke Shaw 'available to start' as Gareth Southgate addresses left-back dilemma

Gareth Southgate says Luke Shaw is “available to start” England’s Euro 2024 quarter-final against Switzerland on Saturday.

Shaw – the only recognised left-back in England’s 26-man squad – has not played since February due to a hamstring problem but is back in full training with the squad.

Kieran Trippier has deputised at left-back in England’s first four games in Germany but Southgate has admitted his side have lacked balance with four right-footed players across the back four.

The manager is considering switching to a back-three for tomorrow's game here in Dusseldorf, which would match up with Murat Yakin’s Swiss side, and Bukayo Saka could play at wing-back.

Southgate says Shaw is an option but talked up Trippier's "phenomenal" qualities as a leader on the pitch.

“Kieran Trippier’s been absolutely outstanding for us,” Southgate said. “Luke is available to start but Kieran has also done a brilliant job for the team.

“He obviously doesn’t give us that balance that a natural left-footer can but his leadership, communication on the pitch. If you ask any of the players that play alongside him, his talking is phenomenal.

“It helps him to play the game. It’s a much undervalued quality and it’s a bit of a dying art. Good talkers on the pitch, you can’t have enough of them. He has exceptional qualities in that area as well as qualities on the ball.

“He’s adapted and done a brilliant, brilliant job for us.”

Switzerland are ranked 19th in the world and have never progressed beyond a quarter-final at a major tournament, while if England win they will face a semi-final against either Turkey or the Netherlands.

Southgate, though, bristled when asked by an English reporter if he had emphasised to the players that the opportunity of such a kind draw may not come around for them again.

“I would say that’s a classic example of the sort of entitlement we have as a nation that creates drama and annoys our opponents,” the manager said.

“We’re playing a really strong football nation, who have played exceptionally well. They're well-prepared, have enormous pride. Our focus is on how we win this game and play to the best of our ability.

"We’ve never been to a final outside England, we’ve only had two finals in our history, three semi-finals so lots of nations who we might perceive as English people to be smaller have had far better records than us, in terms of winning things and getting to the latter stages and finals.

“It’s part of the problem we have.

"We’re ready for tomorrow and as a team we have huge respect for our opponents. We know we have to be at our very best to win the game.”