Ashley Young has enjoyed a solid World Cup so far, to the extent that it is easy to forget that he is a makeshift left wing-back, having fully undergone a positional reinvention at Manchester United last season.
The experienced former Aston Villa man has been exposed once or twice in the Premier League, but has so far been reliable as part of the five-man England backline which has been the bedrock of the Three Lions’ unlikely run to the last four of the summer showpiece.
However, in Ante Rebic, Croatia – who are all that stand between England and a first World Cup final since 1966 – have a wideman out on the right who can cause Young problems.
The right-winger doesn’t get hugely involved in his side’s build-up play – which may be why they sometimes struggle to control games in midfield despite boasting such elite talent as Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic – but is constantly stretching the game.
The man valued at just £9m by Transfermarkt will be looking to get in behind Young when the United man pushes forward to support the attack, and test Harry Maguire’s capacity to come over and cover in England’s left-hand channel.
It is important that Croatia have penetration to go with their undoubted technical quality and with Ivan Perisic out on the left looking slightly off-colour out in Russia, Rebic’s role is crucial if his side are to dampen England’s hopes and qualify for the World Cup final.