How England could line up against Italy in Nations League with Harry Maguire set to start

    GARETH SOUTHGATE is set to pick his penultimate England team before the World Cup when they face Italy in Milan on Friday.

    The Three Lions will take on the European champions in the Nations League, before hosting Germany on Monday.

    How SunSport expects England to line up against Italy


    How SunSport expects England to line up against Italy

    The two matches offer Southgate a final opportunity to look at players before he selects his 26-man squad for Qatar in October.

    And he has stuck to his guns when it comes to loyal defender Harry Maguire.

    The defiant England boss Southgate gave huge backing to the out-of-favour Manchester United captain, who has not started in the Premier League since August 13.

    Maguire is set to start at the San Siro with the Three Lions needing a win to avoid relegation into League B which could affect the team’s seeding for the Euro 2024 qualifiers.

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    But there are still a host more questions for the England boss to answer less than two months out from the start of the tournament.

    One of the most pressing one for these upcoming Nations League fixtures is who will replace the injured Jordan Pickford in between the sticks.

    Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale and Newcastle shot-stopper Nick Pope are both vying for the spot – with Dean Henderson expected to miss out.

    Then there is the debate as to whether Southgate goes with a back three or back four.

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    Another way Southgate could choose to line up against Italy
    Another way Southgate could choose to line up against Italy

    If it is a three then expect Tottenham man Eric Dier to return to the fold after two years out of the national side.

    Harry Maguire and likely Kyle Walker will form a trio either side of him, with Chelsea wingback Reece James and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka on the flanks.

    Alternatively, he could opt to go with a four and try out the likes of Marc Guehi and Fikayo Tomori.

    Kieran Trippier is also an option at left-back, especially given the poor form of Luke Shaw.

    In midfield, Declan Rice is a certainty.

    But the spot alongside him is up for grabs, particularly given Kalvin Phillips has been ruled out and replaced in the squad by Jordan Henderson.

    The Liverpool man is an option, but you would imagine Jude Bellingham is the favourite to fill that spot ahead of Henderson and James Ward-Prowse.

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    Then up front, a 3-4-3 would allow Southgate to play his favoured front three – Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Mason Mount – or he could use Man City’s Phil Foden who is seeing plenty of action.

    And there is also a chance Kane may make way for Ivan Toney – who has earned his first England call-up and will be hoping to make a late case for a spot on the plane.

    Expected line ups

    England – Pope; Saka, Maguire, Dier, Walker, James; Bellingham, Rice; Foden, Kane, Sterling.

    Italy – Donnarumma; Di Lorezo, Bonucci, Bastoni, Emerson; Barella, Jorginho, Cristante; Gabbiadini, Scamacca, Raspadori.


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