Euro 2020: England boss Gareth Southgate tries Luke Shaw in a back three

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Gareth Southgate tries Luke Shaw out on the left of a back three as the England boss works on various tactics ahead of Euro 2020’s opening game against Croatia with a lack of options in central defense

Gareth Southgate has experimented by using Luke Shaw as a third centre-back in training as he works on alternative formations for Sunday’s European Championship opening match against Croatia.

England played with a back-four in their warm-up matches against Austria and Romania last week, but a 3-4-3 system remains an option as Southgate adjusts its plans for the tournament.

His deployment of Shaw was the most intriguing development in training on Wednesday, as the Manchester United left-back has not played centrally for his country. It is also indicative of England’s limited options.

Gareth Southgate has experimented by using Luke Shaw as third center back in training

Gareth Southgate has experimented by using Luke Shaw as third center back in training

Central defender Harry Maguire was back outside training for the start of the European Championship on Wednesday

Central defender Harry Maguire was back outside training for the start of the European Championship on Wednesday

Central defender Harry Maguire was back outside training for the start of the European Championship on Wednesday

England played with a back-four in warm-up matches against Austria and Romania, but a 3-4-3 system remains an option for Southgate

England played with a back-four in warm-up matches against Austria and Romania, but a 3-4-3 system remains an option for Southgate

England played with a back-four in warm-up matches against Austria and Romania, but a 3-4-3 system remains an option for Southgate

Harry Maguire was back training outside on Wednesday as he tries to recover from an ankle injury, leaving John Stones, Tyrone Mings, Conor Coady and Ben White as the only established mid-halfs.

White was a late pick for the squad to replace the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold, while Mings struggled in friendlies last week, so Shaw has emerged as an option if Southgate want to play three centre-backs.

Southgate received better news on Jordan Henderson’s condition on Wednesday, with the Liverpool captain playing a full part in training and winning a series of straight sprints against Declan Rice. Bukayo Saka also returned to training after a minor glitch.

Meanwhile, Ben Chilwell claims Chelsea’s Champions League final victory over Manchester City last month brought the England squad closer together.

The 24-year-old Chelsea defender insisted there had been no awkwardness between the players of both clubs since they reported to St George’s Park earlier this week, with the City boys sparking chatter about their 1-0 defeat in Porto.

“We had a few jokes with the City guys,” Chilwell said. “If anything, and it’s kind of weird to say, it’s brought us closer together. Sharing a Champions League final is something special. Although they were on the losing side, we got together here and it wasn’t awkward at all.

“To share that experience, such a huge game in all of our careers, was great for all of us. Hopefully it will serve us well to enter this tournament. It can only be positive.’

Ben Chilwell (second from right) says Chelsea's Champions League final win over Man City has brought the Three Lions squad closer together

Ben Chilwell (second from right) says Chelsea's Champions League final win over Man City has brought the Three Lions squad closer together

Ben Chilwell (second from right) says Chelsea’s Champions League final win over Man City has brought the Three Lions squad closer together

Chilwell’s celebrations in Porto were limited by the need to prepare for the European Championship, but he did enjoy some free time, which he spent visiting his mother in Bedfordshire.

He relaxed by walking the dog and watching his old cricket club, Flitwick. “We had a few days to rest and recuperate, which the manager was very keen on here, to refresh our minds,” he said.

“It was nice for me to go home and see my mom and see how happy she was for me about how the season was. I went home, walked the dog, did some laundry, made my own bed. I went to watch the local cricket matches which was fun.

“I haven’t played cricket for a while, so coming home and watching the team I used to play for was quite nice.”

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