Gareth Southgate has forbidden all speak of Euro 2024 earlier than England’s useless rubber in North Macedonia however will probably be eager to maximise his closing aggressive fixture earlier than subsequent summer time’s match, writes Daniel Zeqiri.
Fitness allowing, England have a core of gamers who seem sure starters in Southgate’s eyes: Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane.
The id of the third midfielder alongside Rice and Bellingham, whether or not in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, is up for debate. These are 5 of the main candidates.
Jordan Henderson: A Southgate stalwart and an England starter within the final three tournaments, Henderson might discover himself within the crew by default due to a scarcity of excellent candidates. Favours the suitable facet of the pitch, which counter-balances Bellingham properly. Turns 34 in June, and has one other six months of Saudi Pro League soccer as preparation. Conor Gallagher provides lots of the attributes of a youthful Henderson.
Kalvin Phillips: Has dovetailed properly with Rice, and Southgate may be attracted to the thought of a real double pivot to let Bellingham off the leash. Lack of minutes for Manchester City is a priority, however circumstances might change within the January switch window. Long-range passing is a energy however his tackling might appeal to consideration from officious match referees.
Phil Foden: The most popular selection of these England followers who need Southgate to be extra cavalier. Foden is exactly the profile of participant England groups of outdated lacked, adept at receiving the ball on the half-turn in confined areas. The notion of Foden and Bellingham as roaming ‘eights’ is alluring, however does it supply sufficient management and stability? As Southgate is eager to stress, Foden is never used centrally by Pep Guardiola.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: Rice is a world class ball-winner and Bellingham is a world class mover, so including a world class passer to the combination is sensible. Regularly receives the ball in central midfield positions for Liverpool, however is that more practical when popping up from full-back as a spare man?
James Maddison: An excellent begin to his Tottenham Hotspur profession ought to have moved him forward of Mason Mount, and he provides the creativity England are habitually accused of missing. Similar tactical issues to Foden nevertheless, extra so given he likes the identical inside left zone as Bellingham. Also barely susceptible to harm.
James Ward-Prowse, Jacob Ramsey and Sean Longstaff would possibly really feel they deserve an opportunity, however are very a lot outsiders.