Paul Merson’s England XI.

No Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling starts.

Paul Merson picks his England XI to face Croatia, explains why Gareth Southgate’s team cannot be taken in by their opponents’ poor form, and tips Jude Bellingham to star.

3-4-3 the way to play against Croatia.

I’ve watched enough of the last couple of games to see we’ve not got anyone who’s prepared to run without the ball. Sterling will do that, we need that. If we don’t run without the ball, I don’t see how we’re going to do anything.

He’s not been in great form, but he runs without the ball and that’s the one shining light I’ve seen in the last couple of games, no-one’s really prepared to run without the ball.

I don’t think we’re good enough at the back, you’ve seen that in the last couple of games and that’s average teams, average teams. Romania aren’t even going to the tournament, and it was harder to not qualify than to get there.

They went through us a bit too easily; people will say that isn’t our proper team, but this is a game where you can’t afford to lose – you’ve got to be a bit cagey and have that insurance at the back.


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