England vs Scotland: Our football writers do Gareth Southgate's job for him - read our starting XIs

It’s the one we’ve all been waiting for...

What more could we possibly ask for? England against Scotland at Wembley in a major tournament on a Friday night. Lovely stuff.

Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions stand on the cusp of the last 16 already after beating Croatia last Sunday, and a repeat performance against the Tartan Army would pretty much book their place in the next round.

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For Steve Clarke’s men, a win is vital if they don’t want to leave themselves with a mountain to climb in their final game against Croatia – but of course, this is match that’s about way more than points and progression. It’s about pride and bragging rights, about keeping the noisy neighbours quiet.

Gareth Southgate, Manager of England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Gareth Southgate, Manager of England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Southgate caught us all out with his team selection last weekend – anybody for a right-footed left-back? – but undeterred, our NationalWorld football writers have had another crack at naming their sides for Friday’s mouth-watering showdown.

Here are our starting XIs for the game. Let us know if you agree. Because, let’s face it – we probably won’t!

Ross Gregory

(3-4-3) Pickford, Walker, Stones, Mings, James, Rice, Phillips, Chilwell, Mount, Kane, Sterling

England vs Scotland

Three at the back? Change a winning formation? You know nothing, Gregory!!!

Bear with me here. Firstly, Scotland play 3-5-2 (or a version of) and while I'm not saying England need to be worried about their rivals, a tweak to the formation will just give a bit of extra security. A combination of Reece James as a right wing-back and Kyle Walker behind him will help stop Scotland's biggest threats, which is the marauding runs of Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney (yes, he absolutely will be fit), along with potentially Ryan Fraser playing down that channel off Che Adams.

Harry Maguire says he's fit, but save him for the Czech game which will hopefully be a dead rubber. No need to rush him back. But absolutely get either Luke Shaw or Ben Chilwell down that left flank - Chilwell is probably better going forward.

You can't drop Mason Mount (and he can tuck central at times to help out Rice and Phillips), Raheem Sterling was the matchwinner against Croatia, so it's Phil Foden who steps down to the bench for me, before unleashing him and Jack Grealish midway through the second period. Bosh.

England vs Scotland history.

Richie Boon

(4-3-3): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Phillips, Mount; Foden, Grealish, Kane.Scotland caused the Czech Republic some real problems, and if Che Adams starts, he'll press England relentlessly I'd still go with a back four, though, after being convinced of the Three Lions' defence's resilience on Sunday.It was a close call between Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish for me, and it's tough to leave the goal-scoring hero out, but this game feels like it's made for the Aston Villa man to dominate.Like most, I raised my eyebrows when I saw Kieran Trippier starting at left-back against Croatia, and I wasn't exactly enraptured by his performance. A natural left footer in Luke Shaw is a better option, for me.

Jason Jones

(4-3-3) Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw, Rice, Phillips, Mount, Sterling, Grealish, Kane

With three points already under their belt, England are in a commanding position when it comes to qualification for the knockout stages, but Friday’s clash against Scotland will be about so much more than taking another step towards the last 16.

Harry Maguire has openly stated that he will be fit in time to face Steve Clarke’s men, and if that is the case then he should be given the nod ahead of willing deputy Tyrone Mings.

Elsewhere, Gareth Southgate’s experimentation with Kieran Trippier at left-back was all a bit of a lark, but now would be a good time to let his entirely capable and actually-left-footed full-backs know that he doesn’t genuinely hate them.

Kalvin Phillips simply has to feature after his superhuman display against Croatia, and the only other change should see Jack Grealish come in for Phil Foden. The Manchester City wunderkind looked bright last weekend, and doesn’t necessarily deserve to lose his place, but resting him and bringing him on for the last half an hour wouldn’t do him any harm – especially after the lengthy season he put in for his club.

Besides, Grealish has more than justified a starting berth. Stick him out on the left, bring Raheem Sterling over to the right, and look to get balls in over the top of an adventurous Andy Robertson to turn Scotland’s main attacking threat against them.