The final World Cup qualifiers are nearly upon us with England facing Slovenia then Lithuania in their final Group F matches.
Four teams can still qualify but one win will send the Three Lions through no matter what happens between Slovakia, Slovenia and Scotland.
Gareth Southgate has announced his squad with not much change but is it the right squad to send us to next summer’s World Cup?
- Jack Butland (Stoke City)
- Joe Hart (West Ham)
- Jordan Pickford (Everton)
- Fraser Forster (Southampton)
This keeper line up is quite static with only Pickford the new addition, having been kept out of September’s squad through injury.
Butland certainly should start because he has played the most minutes domestically so far, having racked up 540 minutes of action. As for the rest, it could be a case of who looks best capable of shutting out the opposition.
- Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur
- Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
- John Stones (Manchester City)
- Chris Smalling (Manchester United)
- Phil Jones (Manchester United)
- Michael Keane (Everton)
- Harry Maguire (Leicester City)
- Gary Cahill (Chelsea)
- Ryan Bertrand (Southampton)
- Aaron Creswell (West Ham)
Definitely a strong defensive list, particularly down the flanks through Walker and Bertrand.
Central defence has plenty of variety and could easily see a back five here. Stones and Smalling and have been solid for their Manchester clubs respectively whilst Cahill has been Chelsea’s rock.
Michael Keane has unfortunately been part of a disappointing Everton team but will be a solid back up.
- Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur)
- Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
- Fabian Delph (Manchester City)
- Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur)
- Jake Livermore (West Bromwich Albion)
- Jesse Lingard (Manchester United)
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool)
Unlike past international call ups, this midfield seems very depleted compared to usual numbers.
Despite that, this is a solid midfield selection but Lingard is the only recognisable winger in there.
In terms of formation, that confuses things because there are a lot of defensive and central attacking midfielders in there. Rashford or Sterling however could drop into one of the wing positions to help out if necessary.
- Jermain Defoe (Bournemouth)
- Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
- Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
- Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
- Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)
This striker selection is definitely solid given the qualities that most of them possess.
Kane is currently on fire and definitely can see him delivering goals whilst Sterling has provided strong assists up the left flank.
Rashford and Defoe haven’t been amongst the goals but are two reliable strikers who could make an impact as subs.
I personally am against Sturridge’s inclusion because there are better and less injury prone strikers out there.
In his place, Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck deserves a recall having started to rediscover his best. Failing that how about taking a risk on a youngster like Tammy Abraham or Demarai Gray, although Gray is more of a winger than centre forward.
Those two have proven that they are talented enough to be given a shot at the senior team. They would also provide more stability than an injury prone player throughout the two weeks.
Strong but what formation?
Overall, this is a very impressive squad with in form players although the formation isn’t exactly clear. Some of the strikers might however drop into the winger roles, particularly on right so there is possibility for a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Otherwise, we might see a different formation tried out which will be interesting, ahead of next summer when might need to tweak line up formations every game depending on opponents.