England face France on Tuesday night in an international friendly at Wembley, despite Friday’s attacks in Paris.
Roy Hodgson has admitted it will not be a “normal friendly” following the recent events which saw 129 tragically lose their lives in the French capital.
“I can’t deny there’s something hanging over which is far, far greater than a football match,” said the Three Lions boss.
But despite the situation, there will be a game of football on Tuesday night with France choosing to play in London.
And with two quality squads on show, it will prove a a good stand of defiance by England and France against the world of terrorism.
But if the two nations, who are just 21 miles apart at the shortest distance, were to merge into one, who would be in the current starting line-up?
Here’s our England and France combined XI……..
GK: Hugo Lloris (France)
Recently named as Tottenham’s captain, Lloris is undoubtedly the Premier League’s most underrated goalkeeper. Having kept three clean at the 2010 Word Cup, he has steadied the ship from a somewhat shaky period after the somewhat shaky Fabian Barthez. Lloris will most likely be facing up against club team-mate Harry Kane, adding an extra incentive to keep a clean sheet at Wembley. The Frenchman beats Joe Hart to the number one jersey on his shot stopping ability and calmness between the sticks.
RB: Nathaniel Clyne (England)
Having settled in well at Anfield, recently scoring his first goal for his new club, Clyne looks set to nail down a starting place in the national team as well. Known for getting forward to support attacks, but also to get back and defend for his team, he has taken over well from former Liverpool man Glen Johnson. Expect the former Southampton star to be overlapping on the wing and putting in high quality crosses for the striker.
CB: Raphael Varane (France)
Still only 22-years-old, Varane has bags of potential to succeed. He has already earned himself 25 French caps in just two years, scoring two goals in the process. Now a regular in the Real Madrid first-team, Varane is hoping to secure the same role for his national team ahead of a home European Championship. With other top centre backs such as Laurent Koscielny, Mamadou Sakho, Kurt Zouma and Eliaqium Mangala, Varane has a lot of competition to overcome, but expect him to start at Wembley and next summer.
CB: Chris Smalling (England)
This year under Louis van Gaal has seen the breakthrough of Smalling. He has become the identity of the United defence, and having come from non-league with Maidstone United, is a role model for many younger players. He captained the Red Devils for the first time earlier in May this year, and at 25 he still has many years ahead of him. He would be expected to continue his form going into the Euros, and fans will be looking for him to cement his place in the side for years to come.
LB: Patrice Evra (France)
In for his leadership qualities, the most experienced player in the back-four is still playing at the highest level at 34-years-old. Boasting an illustrious career with AS Monaco, Manchester United and now Juventus, the Frenchman is known for his steely defensive displays, but also his ability to score when he has pushed forward. Younger players, such as Varane, will look to Evra for advice and experience, and with what will probably be his last major international competition, Evra will be wanting to secure a third championship for Les Blues.
CM: Blaise Matuidi (France)
The consistent star in PSG’s midfield, Matuidi is one of the most reliable players in the current game. His box-to-box style of play and non-stop attitude has endeared him to both club and national fans. Having scored 17 goals for PSG so far, including an important volley against Barcelona in the Champions League, the Frenchman is known as the man for the big occasion, and other players will look to him for inspiration. Matuidi will be big for France in this friendly, but more so at the Euros.
CM: Ross Barkley (England)
Maybe a surprise inclusion, but the tricky Everton midfielder will add some flair to the centre of midfield. He’s been compared to the likes of Michael Ballack and former Evertonian Wayne Rooney, and it’s easy to see why. At only 21-years-old, Barkley still has time to make a major impact on an international stage. He has already appeared at a World Cup, in Brazil 2014. And despite a poor showing from England, the experience will prove vital for the Liverpudlian’s development. Friendly matches against opposition such as France will also be key, and Barkley will be looking to make a considerable impact.
CM: Paul Pogba (France)
One of Europe’s most sought after talents; Pogba seems to be going from strength to strength. He has come a long way from being a Manchester United reject under Sir Alex Ferguson, starring in last season’s Champions League final. With a starting price of £80m for the 22-year-old, major international experience will only increase the fee and improve him as a player. England will have to hold firm to stop his dominating displays in the middle with Matuidi, but expect the duo to come out on top.
FW: Antione Griezmann (France)
The emergence of Griezmann has been an unexpected yet welcomed one for France. After scoring 20 goals for Real Sociedad in 2013/14, the Frenchman earned himself a move to Atletico Madrid, where he has become the star man up front. With six goals in 22 international games, Griezmann has the ability to burst past defenders, something Smalling and Clyne will have to be wary of. He also has the incentive of securing a potential move to the Premier League and keeping a place in the national side for next summer’s competition.
FW: Raheem Sterling (England)
After being named Europe’s most valuable young player earlier this year, Sterling secured a move to Manchester City for a reported £49m. The 20-year-old has bags of potential, with many England fans expecting more from the youngster. However, he will need to keep up his club form in order to remain in the starting eleven for the Euros. He still has plenty of time to improve certain areas of his play, most notably his final ball, but the unpredictability when he is on the ball also makes it exciting for fans to watch, and difficult to defenders to cut out.
ST: Harry Kane (England)
With Karim Benzema’s off-field issues and a goal ratio better than a goal every other game for his club, Kane is our main striker. The Englishman has capitalised on Wayne Rooney’s dip in form to secure a starting place in the national side, which he will want to keep for next summer’s championship. Coming up against strong centre backs such as Varane and Mangala will be a test for Kane, but one he will be used to facing in the Premier League. Gets the nod over Olivier Giroud, despite the Frenchman’s impressive goal tally at Arsenal, and Manchester United’s Anthony Martial.