Dietmar Hamann insists Jack Grealish has earned a starting spot in the England squad to face Germany – but admitted Gareth Southgate may well be more pragmatic for the last 16 clashes.
The Three Lions won a European Championship group for just the third time as 1-0 wins over Croatia and the Czech Republic ended the 0-0 draw against Scotland.
Grealish got his first start of the tournament against the Czechs and was a standout performer in the clash, preparing Raheem Sterling for his first-half winner.
The payoff is a meeting at Wembley against Group F finalists Germany under the arch on Tuesday, which not only removes logistical headaches but allows England to call in a home crowd for a Tough knockout clash steeped in history.
And Hamann, who has scored five goals in 59 appearances for Die Mannschaft, believes Southgate is bound to make some tactical adjustments for the game.
He told talkSPORT Breakfast: “He’s played both against Scotland and the Czechs and I guess if he plays them against lower teams don’t disrespect yourself. [Scotland], he’s never chosen to play Mount – someone more expansive – next to Rice or Phillips in those games, so I doubt he’ll do that against Germany.
“He has to keep Grealish on the team – he’s made a huge difference. You have a case for [Bukayo] Saka. He will play Kane and then Sterling will play.
“I think Henderson did really well when he came in too, but Phillips was brilliant in the first game.
“I think he’ll go with Rice and Phillips to the middle of the park and then it’s just a matter of whether he’ll bring Mount in. I think he should keep Grealish on the team.”
Hamann also identified Germany’s lack of balance in midfield as something Joachim Low needs to resolve ahead of next week’s game.
“In central midfielder you have to have two players who complement each other and that’s a similar problem with England – both midfielders are pretty defensive,” he added.
“I think our two players are not defensive. This affects the team’s balance as Kroos has Casemiro in Madrid and Gundogan has Rodri behind him at Manchester City.
“I think you have to either bring Goretzka or put Kimmich in the middle.”