England will meet the USA in their second group match at the World Cup finals on Friday.
The Three Lions kicked off their World Cup campaign with a match against Iran on Monday, and cruised to victory thanks to goals from Jude Bellingham, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka, who scored twice.
America drew 1-1 with Wales in their opening match and are hoping to score another result against England.Read:“Right now I can’t answer” to day
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Manchester United’s Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire started England’s opener earlier in the week, while Manchester City’s John Stones has also joined the starting line-up, and it seems likely that those three players will start again on Friday.
So, this is how the MEN writers think England should start.
I picked a team with a little more rotation than Southgate went into on Monday, but having seen his team play so well there is a case for keeping things the same against the USA.
Southgate made some gritty calls from game to game at last year’s Euros, but that system worked very well against Iran and must be persevered. The defenders can stay put as long as Maguire is in good enough shape to start a second game this week.Read:New footage of Jordan Henderson and Gabriel shows aftermath of Arsenal vs Liverpool row
It was the midfield that looked particularly impressive against Iran, with Declan Rice holding the fort and Bellingham and Mason Mount exchanging regularly. The balance seemed excellent and this trio should get a chance to build on that understanding.
I was tempted to rotate up front and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone started from Phil Foden or Marcus Rashford, but the change I would make is in the center of attack. With five subs, why bother risking Harry Kane from the start? Callum Wilson showed in his display against Iran that he is good enough.
With the exception of Sterling starting in place of Foden, Southgate picked the squad I made earlier in the week and that line-up was certainly impressive when it scored six goals, albeit against Iran, yes, who were poor throughout.
I wrote that Maguire would enjoy a strong tournament, as he always delivered for England, and his performance against Iran was outstanding. Tougher tasks lie ahead for Maguire but it has been an excellent start to the World Cup after a difficult few months.Read:Liberty vs. New Mexico State: How to watch, schedule, live stream info, game time, TV channel to day
Although I didn’t have Sterling in my squad earlier in the week, he should keep his place in the XI unchanged. Competitors aside, not many teams are capable of scoring six goals in a World Cup game and their display has to be rewarded.
After such a stellar opening performance, the only changes Southgate will have to make are forced in his side. The United States would certainly make more advances than Iran and would have a great deal of speed and cunning toward them, but they are not something the Three Lions should be afraid of.
England were miles better than expected against Iran as they played up front and threw the shackles off their attacking power in a way rarely seen over the past 12 months. That must continue.
If Maguire can’t play after the knock he’s taken I’ll recruit Ben White, although Eric Dier appears to be next in reserve. If Captain Keane misses the game, Rashford will take his place after making an explosive debut. However, if both are suitable, the starting eleven must remain unchanged.