Bukayo Saka in for Raheem Sterling, Conor Coady replaces Harry Maguire and Kieran Trippier lands right-back spot – How England could line-up against Iran after Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad reveal

    With the squad out of the way, it’s now all about Iran on November 21 for England, and how Gareth Southgate will line-up.

    James Maddison’s time has come, with the Leicester star rewarded for his fine Premier League form with a seat on the plane – but will he start in the Three Lions’ opener in Qatar?

    There were huge calls for Maddison to be included in England’s World Cup squad – and Southgate has listened

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    There were huge calls for Maddison to be included in England’s World Cup squad – and Southgate has listened

    Southgate is now focused on Iran

    Getty

    Southgate is now focused on Iran

    It’s been a less-than-ideal build up for the Three Lions boss with a six-game winless run causing plenty of concern, plus injuries to two first-choice stars.

    Chelsea fullback duo Ben Chilwell and Reece James have both lost their places due to injury, with the latter recently becoming a regular under Southgate.

    That will complicate matters for the England boss, as will Kyle Walker’s groin surgery, although the Manchester City defender has made the cut and will be given time to fully recover.

    He’s very unlikely to feature against Iran in England’s curtain raiser, , though, and Southgate may tinker elsewhere.

    Two of his stalwarts have had poor starts to the season, highlighted even more by others excelling in their positions.

    Raheem Sterling and captain Harry Kane’s link-up has been crucial to Southgate’s success as England boss, but with the former massively struggling since his £50million summer move from Man City to Chelsea, it may be time for a break up.

    Sterling and Kane has been Southgate’s plan A, but that may have to change

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    Sterling and Kane has been Southgate’s plan A, but that may have to change

    And that’s made much easier by Arsenal superstar and Southgate favourite Bukayo Saka, who can easily slot in on the right wing where he’s found four goals and six assists for the Gunners this term.

    Even more worrying than Sterling is Manchester United’s Harry Maguire at the back, who has been dropped by new club boss Erik ten Hag after a dreadful run of form, not just this season, but the last one too.

    The centre-back has even struggled while away on international duty this year, but again, much like with Sterling, there’s a ready-made replacement Southgate is a big fan of.

    Conor Coady has been integral in Everton unexpectedly securing the fourth best defensive record in the Premier League this season with 14 goals conceded in 14 games.

    Coady was brilliant in a five at Wolves and has been just as good in a four at Everton, ending any doubts over his England credentials

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    Coady was brilliant in a five at Wolves and has been just as good in a four at Everton, ending any doubts over his England credentials

    Also well-versed in playing in a back-five from his time with Wolves, the Liverpool-born defender should be able to seamlessly replace Maguire in a preferred 5-2-3 formation.

    If not, Ben White’s incredible form at Arsenal further boosts things, with the natural centre-back moving out to right-back this season and not looking out of place for a minute.

    That likely won’t land a starting spot, though, with Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier even more at home in replacing James on the right side, with Luke Shaw finding some form in time to slot in on the left.

    Thankfully for Southgate, the midfield picks itself with Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice wanted by all of Europe’s top sides, but Kalvin Phillips could be one to watch.

    The Man City midfielder started every game in England’s run to the Euro 2020 final but has been injured ever since. However, now returning to play, his months of rest in a hectic schedule could be a secret weapon.

    How England could line-up in their opener against Iran:

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