England kick off their World Cup campaign on Monday with a game against Iran and the Three Lions will be hoping to start their tournament with a commanding win.
England have one of the strongest teams on paper for this World Cup but they go into the tournament at the back of some really poor form. They are winless in their previous six matches so a win on Monday will be really important for their confidence. Many people have dubbed then as one of the favourites to lift the trophy but for that to have they will need to start on a positive note.
Southgate has been rotating his tactics in the buildup to the World Cup but we think he’s going to choose a three-man backline on Monday because that has always been his go-to formation. While a 4-2-3-1 system is also very much probable but since Southgate and his players will want confidence under their belts, a 3-4-3 formation is much more likely.
England have only a handful of injuries going into the Iran game so the only thing he has to do is to select his best XI and there will be little to no margin for error.
England team news and injuries:
Ramsdale has done really well for Arsenal this season but since the Three Lions don’t particularly play with a sweeper keeper we expect Jordan Pickford to remain the No 1 on Monday.
If three full-backs are playing then there’s a massive chance that Southgate is going to include Harry Maguire in the first XI. Maguire has hardly played for Manchester United but he’s one of the national manager’s favourites. Conor Coady, Trent and Ben White will have to be content with a place on the bench.
Kyle Walker is still recovering from a groin injury so he’s unlikely to play a part on Monday. Trippier is going to be the one who will play on the right-hand side with Luke Shaw operating on the left-hand side.
Kalvin Phillips has returned to training after a long injury lay-off but he’s definitely not going to be selected because he’s hardly played for his club this season. Jude Bellingham is going to be the one who will play alongside Declan Rice.
The England manager has multiple options in the attacking areas but among the three, Harry Kane is the only one who’s a guaranteed starter. Bukayo Saka has been in sensational form for the Gunners so he too deserves a start.
We think Saka is going to be the one who operates on the right flank with Man City’s Phil Foden playing on the left. Jack Grealish has always been used as an impact sub by the England boss and he’s going to be used in the same way on Monday as well. United’s Marcus Rashford will also find a place on the bench.
Apart from Kyle Walker, James Maddison is the only other player who is a major doubt because he missed a few of England’s training with a knock. Midfielder Mason Mount is also available but if the manager opts for a three-man defence then the Chelsea midfielder won’t get a start.
England predicted line up vs Iran:
Predicted Starting XI(3-4-3): Pickford; Maguire, John Stones, Eric Dier; Luke Shaw, Rice, Bellingham, Trippier; Foden, Harry Kane, Saka.
Stats via Fotmob.