England have the pace to expose Matthijs de Ligt in Nations League - just like Tottenham did
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Last Updated: 05/06/19 8:47pm
Netherlands centre-back Matthijs de Ligt "can be got at" by England's rapid forward line, according to journalist Henry Winter.
The Ajax defender, 19, is likely to start alongside Champions League winner Virgil van Dijk in Thursday's Nations League semi-final with Gareth Southgate's side - a game that can be watched live on Sky Sports.
De Ligt is one of Europe's hottest properties after helping Ajax win the Eredivisie title and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.
However, speaking on the Nations League Supplement podcast, Winter thinks he saw a weakness in De Ligt when Tottenham put him under pressure in their famous Champions League comeback in Amsterdam.
LISTEN: Nations League Supplement
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"He can be got at," Winter said.
"We've seen that against Tottenham when they unleashed pace around him. He is a fantastic footballer though."
With that in mind, Winter raised the possibility of England going with a dynamic front three of Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford through the middle instead of Harry Kane.
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"I wouldn't have any problem starting Jadon Sancho on the right, Raheem Sterling on the left and I'm a huge Rashford fan - he could play through the middle.
"I'd tell him to run at Van Dijk and De Ligt as he can get behind him. But I feel the default mechanism for Gareth Southgate will be to go for Kane. His ligaments will be fine but he looks like he needs three or four matches to get up to speed."
Winter does recognise the clear talents of De Ligt.
In terms of leadership and potential, The Times' journalist thinks he is already ready for a move to one of Europe's elite clubs.
De Ligt is set to make a decision on his future once the Nations League is over with with Manchester United, Barcelona, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain all reportedly interested in his signature.
"He'll leave - there are so many places he could go to but Barcelona is the obvious destination," Winter added.
"He reminds me in terms of a leader as when Tony Adams came through at Arsenal. He was captain at a young age. Everyone at the club back then could see he's natural leader and a winner. De Ligt is the same."
Selection headaches: Sancho or Rashford?
Who should Southgate entrust to bring home the silverware? Go here to read our feature and pick your England XI.
Nations League live on Sky Sports
You can watch every minute of the Nations League finals live on Sky Sports.
Portugal vs Switzerland - Wednesday 5 June from 7pm, live on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event; Kick-off at 7.45pm.
Netherlands vs England - Thursday 6 June from 7pm, live on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event; Kick-off at 7.45pm.
Third and fourth place play-off - Sunday 9 June from 1.30pm, live on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event; Kick-off at 2pm.
Nations League final - Sunday 9 June from 7pm, live on Sky Sports Footballand Sky Sports Main Event; Kick-off at 7.45pm.
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