Gareth Southgate has plenty of choices to make when picking his penultimate England team before the World Cup finals in Qatar.
The Three Lions boss has just two more games to fine-tune his side as they face Italy and Germany during this international break.
England’s initial priority will be to avoid relegation from the Nations League having failed to win any of their opening four ties in June.
Southgate’s men are bottom of Group A3, with defeat to Italy meaning they will drop down a level in the competition’s next edition.
Yet in addition to avoiding this humiliation, England players know this will be their last chance to ensure a seat on the plane to Qatar in November.
Jordan Pickford is expected to be England’s No.1 goalkeeper at the World Cup but his recent injury has opened the door for someone to cement their spot as his first-choice back-up.
Dean Henderson is set to miss out once Pickford returns, leaving Arsenal star Aaron Ramsdale and Newcastle’s Nick Pope to duke it out in goal.
And Ramsdale is likely to be given the nod, with the 24-year-old’s ability to play out from the back highly coveted by Southgate.
In defence, Kyle Walker’s slight fitness worries and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s poor form has made choosing a right-back much easier.
Reece James has excelled so far despite Chelsea’s mixed results, with a goal and assist in the Premier League to boast too.
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Kieran Trippier will deputise on the left once again as he did at Euro 2020, with both Ben Chilwell and Luke Shaw struggling for form.
If Southgate persists with the 4-2-3-1 system that he did in the reverse game against Italy then Eric Dier will be left out in the cold.
And that would see Southgate continue to rely on the partnership of Harry Maguire and John Stones – in spite of the former’s continued struggles at Manchester United.
A much more straight forward pick is England’s two in midfield with Kalvin Phillips’ injury and Jordan Henderson’s lack of fitness ruling them out.
So Jude Bellingham will finally get his chance to secure a role in the middle of the park alongside West Ham captain Declan Rice.
Just ahead of those two will surely be Mason Mount, even if the Chelsea star has managed zero goal contributions this season.
Southgate remains a huge fan of the 23-year-old and the absence of James Maddison makes Mount a shoe-in for England’s No.10 role.
Alternatively, Mount could find himself on the right of the front three should the Three Lions switch to a 3-4-3 system.
But the 4-2-3-1 would allow Southgate to deploy Mount centrally, with Phil Foden coming in on the right.
The Manchester City star was trusted to start England’s Euro campaign, but an international breakthrough for Buyako Saka saw him drop to the bench.
However, two goals and as many assists in seven games for the Premier League champions has opened the door for Foden to reclaim his England spot alongside Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.
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