Between now and November the 21st, when England start their World Cup campaign against Iran, conversations will be had among Three Lions fans about just who should be lining up in the nation’s starting eleven. It will be a debate had across the land, from living rooms to pubs, and no doubt, every single discussion will lead to a different permutation.
The thing is, a fan’s club allegiance will always colour their choices, as that’s just the way loyalty works. This makes the arguments all the more mixed, as their love of their Premier League team will almost certainly lead to choices that are not necessarily unbiased.
This is, fortunately, not a factor that should affect Gareth Southgate’s mindset, and as such, he is well-placed to make an objective selection, albeit one that may be more focused on national team form than club displays.
England Fans Betting On Success
It’s unavoidable, but expectations will always rise as the tournament gets nearer, and no doubt you are looking for some excellent free World Cup bets to make your wagers all the more enticing.
According to the current World Cup betting odds, England are seen by most football betting sites as the fourth favourite to win the tournament, which is as good as the country has been placed before a major tournament for some time.
World Cup bets will be flooding in from across the country, and you’ll be screaming at the screen the first time you see the first line-up for that opening encounter with Iran, perhaps aggrieved that your voice was unheeded by Southgate and his coaching set-up.
There are some players who are nailed-on starters in England matches, and these are generally agreed upon by fans and pundits alike.
Everton’s Jordan Pickford is sure to start, though Arsenal fans may have hoped Aaron Ramsdale could unseat him, or indeed Nick Pope, as the Newcastle United keeper has been in inspired form in 2022/23.
Harry Kane will, of course, start, and according to the bookies, the likes of Kieran Trippier (who always delivers the goods for England), Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Raheem Sterling, and Harry Maguire are all very much odds on to start.
Arguably both Shaw and Maguire wouldn’t get in the first XI based on club form, but they have been consistent when wearing a Three Lions jersey, so it’s very likely they will start, but the inclusion of Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling is going to lead to quite a lot of consternation.
When it comes to players who can play either side of Kane up front, the general feeling is that the two stars most deserving of those roles are Man City’s Phil Foden and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, two players who have been in great form for their respective clubs.
This is in marked contrast to Sterling’s poor start since moving to Stamford Bridge, but again Southgate may feel that his previous displays in the national team and at major tournaments warrant his inclusion.
In the centre of defence John Stones is a pretty safe pick, and it’s very likely he’ll be alongside Maguire, and a lot then depends on what formation Southgate goes for, as playing with a 3-4-3 would then lead to Eric Dier likely joining them.
It’s useful for England that their first group game is, on paper, their easiest. This means Southgate may see the game as a good exercise in decision-making.
England’s midfield area is another area that is not seemingly set in stone, but most supporters are keen on seeing Borussia Dortmund teen Bellingham and Rice selected, and then that would potentially leave space for a player like Mason Mount, especially in games where Southgate wanted to be more attack-minded.
Our Best England Starting XI
Keeper – Pickford
Defenders – Trippier – Stones – Maguire – Dier – Shaw
Midfield – Rice – Bellingham
Attack – Foden – Kane – Saka
England follow their match with Iran with a trickier encounter with the United States and end their group stage phase with a massive clash with rivals Wales.