The England Starting XI: If The Bookies Were To Decide
It’s fair to say Gareth Southgate has made some bold selections in his recent squads. There have been four goalkeepers, no Gary Cahill and a Jake Livermore in his last squad alone.
What we do know is he seems set on playing three centre halves with the option to mix it up a little among the midfield and attack depending on opposition.
There are plenty guaranteed a spot on the plane now, but starting places for the first game in Group G are still up for grabs.
Pundits and bookies are all making their guesses, so we’re looking to the latter to see who they fancy to start.
England’s Starting XI: According to the Bookies…
There are plenty of England Squad predictions being made, so we thought we’d take Gareth Southgate’s likely formation and place the bookies favourite to board the plane for each position into it…
Both Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford are both 1/20 to get the nod for the squad but perhaps Southgate’s call to play Pickford against the Netherlands might give us a clue.
Everton’s form of late has certainly been better than Stoke’s too which may also be a sign.
Starter: Jordan Pickford
The centre half position is an interesting one. Kyle Walker has featured on the right hand side of a back three in recent games and with the Manchester City full back a firm favourite to make the squad, we’re going to see him here.
John Stones, despite less game time of late, is another the bookies see starting against Tunisia, while Harry Maguire is the second favourite out-and-out central defender to make the squad.
The Leicester man impressed in recent friendlies and has perhaps cemented his place in the team thanks to that.
Starters: Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire
Full Back/Wing Backs
The full back position is an interesting one. While there’s an abundance of talent at both left and right back, the move of Walker to a back three would put Kieran Trippier into that position according to the bookies.
He’s 1/10 to make the squad and played well on the right hand side of Walker against the Netherlands recently.
On the other wing, Danny Rose is favourite to marshall it. It’s expected he’ll beat the likes of Ashley Young, Luke Shaw and Ryan Bertrand, with the latter the second favourite for the spot.
Starters: Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose
It’s expected Southgate will sit two central midfielders in front of the back three, pulling the strings and keeping hold of possession.
Eric Dier is a favourite to board the plane and will likely take this position rather than centre back where he has been tested before.
Both Dier and Jordan Henderson have been tipped for captaincy, but it’s Henderson’s Liverpool teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who is tipped to go to Russia ahead of the former Sunderland man.
That would perhaps mean, according to the bookies, the Ox sits in that midfield alongside Dier.
As the season continues there’s no doubt those odds may change. The former Arsenal midfielder is 1/10 to go to Russia while Henderson is 1/8, so there really isn’t much in it.
Elsewhere, Wilshere’s 1/ 2 could change should he continue to be a bright spark in the Gunners’ midfield.
Starters: Eric Dier, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
England’s World Cup hopes will largely rely on the creativity of their attacking midfielders and they’re positions Gareth Southgate really needs to get right.
Dependent on the opposition he could play one or two in this role. Either way, they will be interchangeable with the striker(s) and be a key cog in the Three Lions play.
Dele Alli is favourite with the bookies for a place in this part of the field at 1/33, which would mean either Jesse Lingard or Raheem Sterling misses out.
The odds are suggesting that decision will be incredibly tough with both Lingard and Sterling 1/20 to make the squad. It was in fact Alli who was left on the bench in the recent friendlies, which could eventually shift the odds, but if we were to make a guess, rightly or wrongly, it’d be Lingard making way.
What we could see happen is the United star drop back. He’s been very effective for club when played in a central role, and has been excellent at distributing play and getting on the ball.
Starters: Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling
Barring (another) injury Harry Kane will be England’s talisman and has good odds to finish World Cup top scorer.
Up top is perhaps the area where England had the most quality, with the likes of Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford both exciting talents who know where the goal is.
Kane is clearly guaranteed to start, and if Southgate should go with two strikers, both Rashford and Vardy are tied at 1/20 with the bookmakers. You’d perhaps expect the nod to be given to Rashford however. Vardy excels on the counter attack and England’s possession game may suit the former a little bit more.
Whatever happens though, there are goals in that strike force and if the midfield can provide for Kane, Rashford or Vardy, they’ll find the net.
Starters: Harry Kane
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