What will England’s line-up be for first World Cup game vs Iran?

Gareth Southgate has revealed his 26-man squad with the opening game a week on Monday at the Khalifa International Stadium

Jack Rathborn
Thursday 10 November 2022 15:05 GMT
World Cup: England's 26-man squad announced by Gareth Southgate

After Gareth Southgate named his England squad for the World Cup in Qatar, attention turns to the first game against Iran.

The Three Lions begin their Group B campaign against Carlos Queiroz’s side on 21 November at the Khalifa International Stadium.

With Iran likely to hand England the initiative here, Southgate is left with a dilemma concerning his formation and whether to open up in pursuit of goals or to drill a system that will become more common as the tournament develops against stronger opposition.

Southgate has included James Maddison in his squad, although the Leicester star is likely to be an option off the bench initially.

Should Southgate select a variation of three or five at the back, Eric Dier may emerge as the beneficiary, especially with patience regarding Kyle Walker’s return to fitness, with the Manchester City defender described as being ready “before the end of the group stage”.

That could then mean one less attack-minded player in the final third, pushing two of Mason Mount, Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden towards the bench for the opener.

Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane are all but certain to start for Southgate, while Kalvin Phillips’ return for Manchester City might come too late to immediately start for England, with Jude Bellingham partnering Declan Rice in midfield.

With an injury to Reece James ruling him out of the tournament, Kieran Trippier is favoured to edge out Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, while Luke Shaw is a clear starter without Ben Chilwell for competition, with the Chelsea star also picking up an untimely hamstring injury.

Jordan Pickford is of course still England’s No 1, with Harry Maguire and John Stones also assured of their places at the back.

Predicted England XI to face Iran

Jordan Pickford; Kieran Trippier, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Mason Mount, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham; Phil Foden, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling

Confirmed England World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal), Nick Pope (Newcastle)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Conor Coady (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ben White (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham United)

Forwards: Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), James Maddison (Leicester), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Callum Wilson (Newcastle)

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