England’s Predicted Starting 11 vs Iran at the World Cup
It’s fair to say Gareth Southgate didn’t have the easiest of decisions to make when it comes to selecting his squad for the World Cup this winter, and it becomes even trickier when it comes to nailing down a starting eleven for their first game against Iran.
Many pundits are predicting that he’ll stick with the 3-4-3 formation that has worked well for him in tournaments so far in his England career, and it’s hard to disagree with that as their journey in Group B gets underway on November 21.
But what players will feature in that eleven? Aside from a few names, pretty much every place is up for grabs. Here’s our take on how Gareth Southgate will line his side up in England’s first World Cup fixture.
Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford
Southgate has stayed loyal to Jordan Pickford during his time as boss and that’s likely to remain despite pressure from both Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale. Pickford is in form and the manager has the luxury of three fantastic keepers in his ranks should there be any injuries or niggles.
Centre Backs: John Stones, Eric Dier, Harry Maguire
Centre back is a real problem for Gareth Southgate this World Cup, with injuries and players dropped meaning very few of his usual first-picks are getting a game. Kyle Walker is returning from injury, and if fit could slot in on the right side of a back three as he did at the European Championships, while Harry Maguire has been dropped by Erik ten Hag at Manchester United. It’s likely Maguire will still get the nod, alongside both John Stones and Eric Dier who have been playing regularly for their clubs.
Wing Backs: Kieran Trippier, Luke Shaw
There’s a lot of competition at full back/wing back but injuries have slimmed that down somewhat with both Reece James and Ben Chilwell out of the tournament.
Luke Shaw looks most likely now on that left hand side, while Kieran Trippier will likely get the nod ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold, who Southgate just doesn’t quite trust defensively.
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Central Midfielders: Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham
During the last tournament, both Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips were nailed-on starters for England, with the latter earning a move to Manchester City such was his form. However, Kalvin Phillips is recovering from shoulder surgery and that leaves Jude Bellingham in position to take his place.
Rice is one of Southgate’s first picks at present, and rightly so, while Jude Bellingham has also put himself in prime position for a start, ahead of the likes of Phillips and Jordan Henderson, and Mason Mount.
Forwards: Phil Foden, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling
Both Phil Foden and Harry Kane must start for England and they most probably will. Foden could miss out on a starting eleven place if Southgate opts for Mount instead, while there are large question marks over Raheem Sterling.
Sterling has been an ever-present for Southgate, but his move to Chelsea hasn’t quite worked so far and the form of Marcus Rashford could see him slip out of the front three.
Jack Grealish perhaps hasn’t done enough to warrant a start, and Marcus Rashford will be used as an impact sub. Saka could warrant that Sterling spot too, having been in fine form for Arsenal. He’ll certainly be going to the tournament, but will he get the nod ahead of Sterling?
Read More: World Cup 2022 Golden Boot betting tips.
England’s Starting Line-up Prediction vs Iran
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