Date: 22nd March 2021 at 7:38pm
Written by:

All domestic football will be taking a back seat as the road to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar starts on Thursday night. 

The international break, which sees England take on San Marino, Albania and Poland between the 25th and the 31st March, will also be the last international fixtures before England’s opening match at the summer’s European Championship against Croatia.

Southgate made shockwaves in his pick for the England squad, with Luke Shaw, John Stones and Jesse Lingard all being recalled to the England squad, while Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins and West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone were also called up into the England squad for the first time.

Incredibly, Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold was left at home with the England manager stating a perceived decline in form of the 22-year old as the reason for his exclusion.

Southgate is also missing Liverpool pair Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez, while the likes of James Maddison, Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho, Jordan Pickford and Tammy Abraham were all also absent from injury.

With all this taken into account, we here at Shoot have put together an England predicted XI to take on San Marino at Wembley.

Dean Henderson

The United keeper will deputise for the injured Jordan Pickford

The Manchester United goalkeeper has had to be content with playing second fiddle to David De Gea until recently where he has kept four clean sheets in six appearances for the Red Devils.

When Henderson has appeared between the sticks, he has genuinely impressed with many United supporters and pundits claiming he is ready to take on the pressure of being first choice goalkeeper for both club and country.

Kyle Walker:

Walker (left) will slot nicely into the right side of the back three

During the recent Nations League matches, Southgate reverted back to his trusted three-man back line he deployed in the 2018 World Cup, and Kyle Walker is pivotal to its success.

With only three games to go before the Euros, it seems unlikely the Three Lions will change the formation and the Manchester City right-back’s pace is key to the formation’s success.

Harry Maguire

The United captain is a key leader for The Three Lions

The Manchester United captain is one of the first names on the England team sheet and his strength and leadership will likely see him start in the middle of the back-three.

While the £85 million defender will always have his critics, Maguire is perhaps The Three Lions’ most important centre-half.

Expect to see him making charging runs into the penalty area on every England set piece.

John Stones

Stones will be a welcome return for Southgate

Stones’ comeback of all comebacks was perfectly completed with a well deserved recall into the England set-up.

His days looked numbered when the arrival of £65 million defender Ruben Dias appeared to have confounded Stones to fifth-choice defender at Manchester City.

However, against the odds, Stones has played his way back into Pep Guardiola’s set-up and has even benched Aymeric Laporte, who was touted as City’s only outstanding defender last season.

Stones, Maguire and Walker all started together in England’s run to the World Cup semi-final in 2018, so expect to see them all redeployed to the backline.

Reece James

Another exciting star to come from Chelsea’s academy

The Chelsea right-back has had to compete, rather surprisingly, with Callum Hudson-Odoi for the right wing-back position since Thomas Tuchel took over the reins at Stamford Bridge.

While the German manager has rotated the two players frequently, James almost always starts against the stiffer, more threatening opposition with the 21-year-old preferred against the likes of Everton, Liverpool, Spurs and, most recently, the second-leg against Atletico Madrid.

Luke Shaw

Another welcome return, Shaw has become one of the best left-backs in the Premier League

Another England player who seemed destined for the wilderness.

Luke Shaw has responded to the competition of Alex Telles at United with some incredible performances for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

His surging run and finish in United’s 2-0 victory against Manchester City at the Etihad was sensational and he has deservedly played his way back into England contention.

With Ben Chilwell being constantly rotated with Marcos Alonso at Chelsea, we feel Shaw has played his want into the starting eleven against San Marino.

Jude Bellingham

We feel the youngster will be the surprise starter of the side

If you are yet to see Jude Bellingham play, the 17-year old has been a bright light, in what has been a very frustrating season for Borussia Dortmund.

Despite not even being old enough to order a pint of beer in England, he has made 22 appearances for the eight-time German champions and even became the youngest ever English player to start a Champions League knockout match.

He has demonstrated maturity way beyond his years and we feel this could earn him a first England start against San Marino, as Southgate could be looking to experiment.

Mason Mount

Mount has become one of Southgate’s go-to men

Mount has silenced his critics time after time this season and was even given the captain’s armband in Chelsea’s 2-0 win against Sheffield United in the FA Cup.

Tuchel dropped the midfielder in his first match at the Stamford Bridge helm, leaving Chelsea and England fans fearing it was the beginning of the end for Mount.

However, he has played his way back into the German’s plans and has almost become undroppable at Stamford Bridge.

Southgate has started the 22-year old in his last two England matches and we feel he is set to be one of the two holding midfielders in a 3-4-3 formation for England.

Phil Foden

Foden will likely slot nicely into the attacking midfield position

Since he played a starring role in the England Under-20’s triumphant World Cup win in 2017, Foden is perhaps one of the most exciting England players to emerge in decades.

The 20-year old has had to be patient, but he has dazzled his way into Manchester City’s start studded side and he is set to be a key part of a third Premier League title win in four seasons.

Foden has genuinely operated in the final third, and we feel he will partner a Manchester City teammate as one of the two attacking midfielders.

Raheem Sterling

Sterling will be looking to add to his 13 England goals

A key player both for England and Manchester City.

Sterling has struggled for goals at times for The Three Lions, but he will be licking his lips at the prospect of taking on San Marino.

He has been an important figure again for Manchester City this season, contributing with 15 goals and assists as Pep Guardiola’s side continue to march to yet another Premier League title and possible quadruple.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Calvert-Lewin has two goals in three England appearances

How good has the Everton striker been this season?

Carlo Ancelotti has a habit of nurturing top quality strikers and Calvert-Lewin has arguably enshrined himself as England’s next best number 9 after Harry Kane.

Kane has played lots of football recently – 120 minutes against Dinamo Zagreb and also 90 against Aston Villa on Sunday – so Southgate will very likely rest the England captain against San Marino, opening a vacancy for Calvert-Lewin.

The 24-year-old has two goals in three matches for England and even scored on his debut in the 3-0 victory against Wales in October.

 
Brought to you by Shoot!