(Reuters) - Former right-back Gary Neville has advised England manager Gareth Southgate to make “three or four changes” in Thursday’s top-spot decider against Belgium to avoid fatigue in the latter stages of the World Cup.
England and Belgium are both locked on six points each after winning their fixtures against Tunisia and Panama and having already qualified for the round of 16, the former Manchester United defender feels it is important to keep the squad fresh.
“I’ve seen England teams blow up at the quarter-final stage where they have run out of legs, where they have not been able to see the job through,” Neville, who won 85 international caps, told Sky Sports.
“I felt strongly that if we made more use of the squad we would have felt the effect of that later in the tournament.”
The 43-year-old also noted the importance of trusting the squad to perform against Belgium so that the players are ready if called upon during the knockout rounds.
“From an England view, it’s important to give the squad faith and trust,” Neville added.
“It’s conceivable that we will need (Eric) Dier at some point in the tournament, so why not give him a run out. It’s conceivable we would need to play another center-forward and it’s important that they play well.”
Reporting By Arnab Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty