Date: 31st March 2021 at 1:01pm
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England have made the perfect start in their qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with Gareth Southgate’s side securing six points from their first two games in Group I. 

After a routine 5-0 victory over San Marino at Wembley last week, England laboured to a hard fought 2-0 win over Albania in their second game.

Next up for the Three Lions is a a home fixture against Poland, who sit two points behind and are arguably their toughest opponents in the group.

With the delayed European Championship only a matter of months away, competition for places in Southgate’s squad is strong so Wednesday will be another opportunity for players to cement a place in the summer 23.

But which XI will the England boss pick to perform at Wembley? Here’s our predicted line-up to take on Poland…

Kane scored England’s opener in Albania.

Goalkeeper

Nick Pope

The Burnley ‘keeper made his sixth England appearance against Albania on Sunday and is still yet to concede a single goal whilst representing England – a Three Lions record. It has been confirmed by Southgate that Pope will remain in goal for the clash as the England boss assesses his goalkeeping options ahead of the tournament this summer.

Defenders

Reece James

The Chelsea full-back started against San Marino and impressed in an advanced role as England exerted almost constant pressure. With the right-back position arguably the most competitive in Southgate’s pool of players, James will be keen to impress and ensure his name is on the squad list.

John Stones

The Manchester City defender has been in inspired form for Manchester City this season, and looks set to keep his place at the heart of England’s defence as Southgate looks to consolidate his first choice central defensive pairing.

Harry Maguire

The Manchester United impressed alongside Stones in Albania, despite being relatively short of things to do. With Stones and Maguire emerging as Southgate’s first choice pairing once again, the England manager will be keen to allow the pair to play together as much as possible.

Ben Chilwell

The Chelsea left-back started against San Marino and created a goal as he had the freedom of England’s left hand side. With Luke Shaw impressing against Albania though, Chilwell will have to perform if – as we feel – he’ll be given the nod on Wednesday.

Midfielders

Declan Rice

The Hammers midfielder looked calm and composed against Albania and could play a key role in England’s midfield this summer. Whether Southgate opts for a single defensive midfielder or a pair, Rice looks set to start once again against Poland.

James Ward-Prowse

The Southampton midfielder looked a distant outsider to be in the squad for the Euros at the start of the season, but his strong form for Saints has seen him emerge as one of the prime contenders for a place in the squad. After scoring his first international goal against San Marino, Ward-Prowse will be keen to impress once again against Poland.

England are unbeaten in 23 consecutive World Cup qualifying matches.

Mason Mount

The Chelsea midfielder was praised by his manager after the game against Albania, where he scored the second goal, and looks set to start in the advanced midfield role after shaking off a knock. With the likes of Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and James Maddison all competing for similar positions, Mount may consider himself to be in the best position to start England’s first game at the Euros.

Forwards

Raheem Sterling

The City forward has started both games so far this international break but, in the absence of Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish, may be picked once again to start on the left of Harry Kane.

Jesse Lingard

Another player who looked almost certain to miss out on the Euros at the start of the season, his recent loan move to West Ham has rejuvenated his career and he made an impressive return to the national side against San Marino. Despite sitting out the majority of the Albania game, Lingard could start on the right of the front-three.

Harry Kane

The England captain scored his first international goal for over 500 days against Albania and will want to add to that against a depleted Poland side on Wednesday evening. Whilst his place is in no doubt, recent goals for both Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ollie Watkins will spur Kane on to prove he is by far England’s first choice number nine.

With such fierce competition in several positions, Southgate will more than one selection headache when it comes to choosing his squad for the Euros this summer.

Whilst qualification for next year’s World Cup should be nothing more than a formality, he will be keen to ensure his side do the job as efficiently as possible meaning three points on Wednesday is a must.

 
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