Although England’s fans are still waiting for the eye-catching performances they all hope for, nobody can question that England are seemingly strolling through F with relative ease. Sitting five points clear of second place Slovakia, Gareth Southgate’s men are still to be beaten in the qualifying rounds. Despite a victory on Thursday night guaranteeing a spot at next summers’ Cup Final, the England boss has a few dilemmas on his hands.
With England are yet to announce a new permanent captain to succeed Wayne Rooney, Gareth Southgate has confirmed that Tottenham goal-machine Harry Kane will be wearing the armband against Slovenia.
On a less positive note for both Southgate and England, they will be without their first choice #10 Dele Alli. The 21-year-old Tottenham playmaker is currently serving a one-match ban for an offensive gesture in last month’s win over Slovakia.
Along with Alli, Manchester United centre-back Phil Jones, a man that started both of England’s matches last month has withdrawn from the squad with an injury. It’s a similar case with Manchester City’s versatile midfielder Fabian Delph, after a year absence from the squad, he too has withdrawn due to injury concerns.
Given the fact that England won’t wanting any bumps in the road so late on, it looks relatively likely that Gareth Southgate will elect to start with a 4-3-3, with three holding midfielders.
It appears that the pressure on Joe Hart’s rain as England’s number one has reached an all-time high, despite a string of worth deputies including Jack Butland, Fraser Forster and Jordan Pickford all eagerly waiting for their turn to shine, it seems that Southgate still has a clear idea of who he wants as his number one.
Infront of Hart, England will sorely miss Phil Jones who’s partnership with Gary Cahill has seen England only concede three goals in qualifying, the third-best record in any group. In terms of the man to replace Jones, it looks like John Stones will slip into the heart of England’s defence. Completing England’s defensive line, Kyle Walker and Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand will control England’s flanks.
This is where Gareth Southgate’s biggest problem lies, with Dele Alli serving his one-match suspension, it looks like a change of formation is in order. With the likes of Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana still injured, it appears that Gareth Southgate will start the match with three holding midfielders, Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson will be joined by Eric Dier and Jake Livermore in the middle of England’s midfield.
Is there a centre-forward on the planet who is in finer form than Harry Kane? With 13 goals in eight games for both club and country, there is no doubt that the potential new England fulltime captain will be looking to start off October like September finished.
Dele Alli’s chemistry with his Harry Kane has been a big part of England’s attacking prowess, so, it will be down to England’s two wide men to make sure that their captain does not become an isolated figure in the final third.
It looks like Raheem Sterling’s impactful start to the Premier League season has earnt him a recall after being taken off against Malta last month. Sterling already has six goals this season and will start on the left wing. Completing the front three, Marcus Rashford will play to the right of Harry Kane, much like Sterling, Rashford has also enjoyed a stellar start to the season and both wingers pace could be a key part in England’s plan.
Even tho Slovenia managed to come away with a 0-0 draw last time the sides met, England look to be in a far stronger position than they were 12 months ago. As much as Slovenia need the points, with Harry Kane spearheading England’s speedy attack, an England win seems like a formality.
Gareth Southgate’s side can be found at 1/3 to come away with three points and a spot at next years World Cup finals.
England likely line-up
Hart – Walker, Stones, Cahill, Bertrand – Livermore, Henderson, Dier – Sterling, Rashford, Kane.
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