England host Ireland in an international friendly at Wembley this evening. We’ve had a punt at predicting the Three Lions’ starting eleven for the fixture.
In wake of news that Joe Gomez suffered a potentially serious knee injury in training yesterday (as the BBC report), Gareth Southgate’s selection options have been thinned even further.
With Nations League games to come on Sunday and Wednesday, we expect a rotated England side to be fielded in tonight’s friendly, with the team shaping up something like this.
GK – Dean Henderson: Jordan Pickford, rightly or wrongly, is still England’s first-choice goalkeeper. He will likely be involved against both Belgium and Iceland, clearing the way for Manchester United stopper Henderson to start between the sticks tonight.
RCB – Kyle Walker: Walker has frequently been used in this role by Southgate, who has a plethora of options at right-back, but not so much at centre-back. It would be no surprise to see him here later today.
CB – Conor Coady: Coady, who recorded his first England appearance and goal against Wales, has been in fine form for Wolves this season. It seems likely he will be given further opportunities to impress for his country over this international break.
LCB – Harry Maguire: Maguire was shown a red card against Denmark last time out, meaning he will be suspended for England’s Nations League clash with Belgium on Sunday. As a result, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him feature from the start tonight.
RWB – Reece James: One of England’s best players over the last international break, James too will be suspended for England’s next two Nations League fixtures. It could prove to work in his favour, with a start against Ireland all but certain with Trent Alexander-Arnold out injured. He looks as though he will be a key figure for Southgate going forward, with him being one of the most accomplished full-backs in the squad.
CM – Declan Rice: Rice, a crucial figure for West Ham, is one of few defensive midfielders of the required quality to be called-up to the England squad. The man who actually made three senior appearances for Ireland, could start against them this evening.
CM – Jordan Henderson: With Harry Kane unlikely to start from the beginning in this one, Henderson will likely wear the armband for England tonight, assisting Rice in anchoring the midfield and starting the offensive transitions.
LWB – Bukayo Saka: Ben Chilwell is the only natural left-back option England have in their squad. Kieran Trippier has played their previously, but with Reece James suspended for both Nations League games, and Kyle Walker potentially required at centre-back, both Chilwell and Trippier could be rested. That’d be good news for Saka.
RW – Mason Mount: England are really short on naturally right-sided wide-men. All of Jack Grealish, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling prefer to cut-in off the left, but with Mount previously having featured here for both England and Chelsea, he could do so once again tonight.
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LW – Jack Grealish: The man that everyone wants to see in the England line up, and another who snubbed Ireland in favour of representing England, Southgate could use tonight’s friendly as a chance for Grealish to get more international minutes under his belt.
ST – Dominic Calvert-Lewin: The goals have dried up for DCL in recent weeks, but he remains in joint second-place in the Premier League scorers table. Having netted his first international goal against Wales over the previous break, it seems likely he will start tonight with Kane given a breather.