Harry Maguire and Judd Bellingham have been selected to start Friday’s England game against Italy.
Maguire has not started a Premier League game for Manchester United in the past six weeks, but Gareth Southgate is still seen as a key player in England’s defence.
However, the England coach decided to provide additional cover for Maguire, starting with three central defenders at the San Siro. He was joined by Eric Dier of Tottenham Hotspur and Kyle Walker of Manchester City at the heart of the defence.
Arsenal striker Bukayo Saka was chosen as the left-back, with Chelsea’s Reece James on the other wing.
Southgate chose to start with a hat-trick from Manchester City’s Phil Foden, Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane and Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling.
With Calvin Phillips undergoing shoulder surgery and Jordan Henderson still recovering from a hamstring strain, Bellingham got a chance to make an impact in tonight’s Nations League, alongside Declan Rice.
The 19-year-old has been in great form in Germany, having started all 10 matches for Borussia Dortmund this season in the Bundesliga, Champions League and German Cup.
Henderson is ahead of the schedule in recovering from a hamstring strain, and while he won’t play against Italy, Southgate is hoping to be fit enough to feature against Germany at Wembley on Monday.
Brentford striker Evan Toni did not participate in the tour squad with Ben Chilwell and Mark Guy and the suspended John Stones and Henderson.
Analysis: Bellingham Form Pier Start Request
Sky Sports News correspondent Rob Dorsett said:
“This is his fifth England start, but his 16th appearance is exceptional when you consider that he is still only 19 years old. He has been in the England squad since he was 17 – when he was called up for the first time under Southgate.
“His influence, capabilities and confidence have grown in the past two years for both Borussia Dortmund and England.
“His level with Dortmund requires him to start tonight, in fact. He has played more matches this season than any other player in this England squad – 10 matches in the Bundesliga, in the Champions League and the German Cup. He has started every game with Dortmund. He scored three goals. .
“When you think about Calvin Phillips leaving this team and due to have shoulder surgery, Jordan Henderson in this team but recovering from a hamstring strain, I think Bellingham was increasingly likely to get his chance.
“Maguire’s start, however, is a controversial call given his lack of football with Manchester United.”
Southgate ‘supports Maguire’
Guardian football correspondent Jamie Jackson told Sky Sports:
“It’s no surprise to see Gareth Southgate back Harry Maguire because he is so flawless for England.
“He was in the team that led England to the World Cup semi-finals and the European Championship final.
“He lost his place at Manchester United. It was a big call from Erik ten Hag but it wasn’t too surprising. I think Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez would be the first choice.
“Southgate says it’s OK because there are only a few games left after pre-season. He said it could become a problem if he doesn’t have much time in the game between now and the World Cup.
“But I don’t see him returning to the squad. With this three-man defense that Gareth loves to play, I still think that even if Maguire does not return to United, I feel he will be the first choice for the World Cup.”
When the A3 was drawn, Hungary Soon it seemed like the favorites to finish in this highly competitive group, but Marco Rossi’s side have amassed seven points from their first four matches and are currently at the top of the standings.
Hungary’s last match saw a shock 4-0 defeat England At Wembley in June. their game against Germany In Leipzig on Friday will be decisive, as the winners know that another victory in the final round on Monday will secure them a place in the finals.
Italia He trails Hungary by just two points and faces them in Budapest next week, meaning the European champions are still very much in contention in Group A3.
Group A3: Remaining matches
- Germany vs Hungary – Leipzig, Friday 23 September
- Italy VS England Milan, Friday 23 September
- england vs germany Wembley, Monday 26th September
- Hungary vs Italy – Budapest, Monday 26 September
The only team that could not reach the finals is England, who have not won any and are facing the difficult task of avoiding the shame of relegation to the Second Division for the first time.
Defeat to Italy on Friday will confirm relegation for Gareth Southgate’s side, who must realistically win in Milan and at home to Germany on Monday if he is to stay awake.
World Cup Group B matches in England
November 21: Iran (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan) – kick-off at 1 pm
November 25: United States of America (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor) – kick-off 7pm
November 29: Wales (Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan) – kick-off 7pm
Gareth Southgate has revealed his last England squad ahead of the World Cup – but who will make the starting lineup?
What would your England starting line-up look like if the World Cup started today and all the players were available? Use the interactive selector to choose your team below, screenshots you select and share on Twitter Tweet embed.