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.
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.
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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.
“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.”
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.”
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