How England could line up against Italy with Gareth Southgate facing goalkeeper dilemma after Jordan Pickford injury

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

    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.

    Jordan Henderson added to England squad for Italy and Germany clashes
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    Then there is the debate as to whether Southgate goes with a back three or back four.

    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 John Stones will likely form a trio either side of him, with Chelsea wingbacks Ben Chilwell and Reece James on the flanks.

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

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

    Kyle Walker could then come in as a more defensive right-back compared with James and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

    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.

    Then up front, a 3-4-3 would allow Southgate to play his favoured front three – Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Mason Mount.

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    But a 4-2-3-1 could mean Mount takes up the No10 position either side of the wide men – any two of Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish or Jarrod Bowen.

    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.


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