Aaron Ramsdale and Eric Dier start, while Trent Alexander-Arnold given hybrid role – Jack Wilshere’s attack-minded England XI for World Cup opener with Iran

    Jack Wilshere has named Alexander-Arnold and Eric Dier in his surprising starting XI for England’s World Cup opener against Iran.

    England are going into Qatar as one of the favourites to win the tournament and with Gareth Southgate naming his 26-man squad, excitement is beginning to rise.

    Southgate has named his final 26, now he must select his starting XI for England’s first match on November 21

    Southgate has named his final 26, now he must select his starting XI for England’s first match on November 21

    Wilshere was tasked with naming his England XI for the World Cup opener with Iran on Drive

    Wilshere was tasked with naming his England XI for the World Cup opener with Iran on Drive

    While clashes against Wales and the USA will likely be decisive in the outcome of Group B, it’s a test with Iran that the Three Lions will be looking to on November 21 as they hope to get their campaign off to a flying start.

    Stars including James Maddison, Conor Gallagher and Callum Wilson will all be hoping that they can force their way into Southgate’s starting XI, while the likes of Harry Maguire and Raheem Sterling will be hoping that their lack of form won’t hamper their chances of being involved.

    With the tournament just over a week away, England fans will be plotting who they think should start their World Cup opener, something that talkSPORT’s own Andy Goldstein was wondering as well.

    After Southgate revealed his squad, he asked ex-Arsenal star Wilshere and talkSPORT regular Darren Bent to give their best England XI, with markedly different results.

    Below you can see how England would line-up against Iran if Wilshere and Bent were Three Lions’ manager.

    Wilshere selected Arsenal stopper Aaron Ramsdale over Jordan Pickford, citing his superior ball-playing ability

    Getty Images – Getty

    Wilshere selected Arsenal stopper Aaron Ramsdale over Jordan Pickford, citing his superior ball-playing ability

    Jack Wilshere’s England XI

    “I had two different teams and this is for the first one, Iran. I decided against a back-three because, no disrespect to Iran, I don’t think we need three centre-backs.”

    Asked who is in goal, Wilshere said: “Aaron Ramsdale. You’re asking me for my team, I want a team that can play out from the back and a goalie is a key player in that. He’s the best one with his feet, that’s a fact.

    “Trent [Alexander-Arnold] at right-back, [Ben] White and [Eric] Dier at centre-back and Luke Shaw at left-back. Kyle Walker is injured for the first game, are you going to play him with one leg?

    “I decided against a back three, but what I would do is that when we’re building up, I’d move Trent into the middle with Rice and build up with a back three, so Dier would be in the middle, Ben White on the right and Luke Shaw on the left.

    Dier made the cut in Wilshere’s XI as part of a two-man defence

    Getty

    Dier made the cut in Wilshere’s XI as part of a two-man defence

    “So when England are attacking, I’d build up with two holding midfielders, Rice and Trent, so Declan Rice would obviously be your holding midfielder.

    “Jude Bellingham would be one of your number eights, Phil Foden would be the other.

    “Harry Kane would be at no.9. I think that it’s important that when you play with Harry Kane, your wide men – Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka – have the pace to run behind.”

    Wilshere has named a very attack-minded England XI

    Wilshere has named a very attack-minded England XI

    Darren Bent’s England XI

    “I’ve gone with what I think Gareth will do,” Bent said.

    “I’ve gone with [Jordan] Pickford, [Kyle] Walker, [John] Stones, [Ben] White. So Walker is right of the three centre-backs, with Ben White on the left.

    “Kieran Trippier at right wing-back, Luke Shaw on the left. Safety first!

    “I’ve got [Declan] Rice and [Jude] Bellingham in the middle of the park, then my front three are [Bukayo] Saka, Harry Kane and Phil Foden.”

    Bent says that his team is more reminiscent of how he expects Southgate to line up

    Getty

    Bent says that his team is more reminiscent of how he expects Southgate to line up

    Bent went for a more conservative option than Wilshere

    Bent went for a more conservative option than Wilshere

    talkSPORT BET OFFER OF THE DAY

    Bet £10 Get £30 In Free Bets* – CLAIM HERE

    18+ Opt in, bet £10+ at odds 2.00+, in 7 days. No cash out. Get 3x £10 Free Bets on selected events. 7 day bonuses expiry. Card payments only. Click for T&Cs. BeGambleAware.org | Please gamble responsibly

    Source

    Previous article‘Top player!’ – Erik ten Hag and Marcus Rashford heap praise on Christian Eriksen after Manchester United beat Aston Villa