Italy vs England: how Gareth Southgate’s side would look if it was based on current club form
England will look to fight their way off the bottom of the table in their UEFA Nations League group, ahead of games against Italy and Germany
England will look to redeem themselves over the next few days as the memory of June’s disastrous international break still lingers.
Despite drawing against both Italy and Germany in their previous Nations League matches, the Three Lions lost twice to Hungary and conceded five goals - leading to calls for Gareth Southgate’s sacking.
England now face their final two matches before the World Cup as they take on the Azzurri on Friday evening, before hosting Germany at Wembley Stadium.
As usual, Southgate’s squad selection announcement was met with plenty of criticism as the likes of Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Jarrod Bowen were picked once again despite their poor starts to the season.
Meanwhile, some of this season’s shining stars such as Jadon Sancho and Ben White were left out.
There have been questions raised as to whether the England boss is going to pick his World Cup squad based on this season’s form - so we decided to take a look at how tomorrow’s starting line-up could look if it was picked on recent performances.
Here is NationalWorld’s XI...
GK - Nick Pope
The goalkeeper spot was a very difficult one to choose as all three have them have been brilliant this campaign.
Pope has only conceded six goals so far this season and has been one of Newcastle United’s best players in a mixed bag of results.
Aaron Ramsdale is certainly a real contender, while Dean Henderson’s two penalty saves last month has been overshadowed by letting in 17 goals so far.
RWB - Kyle Walker
Despite being sidelined with an injury since Man City’s draw against Aston Villa, Kyle Walker has remained one of England’s best full-backs this season.
CB - John Stones
John Stones is another defender that has had a solid start to the campaign - featuring in all but one of Man City’s league matches.
The 28-year-old has also picked up two assists in the Premier League.
CB - Eric Dier
Eric Dier has looked like a completely different player under Antonio Conte and has rejuvinated his England career after failing to earn a cap in two years.
If the Three Lions are to play three at the back then we could definitely see the Tottenham centre-back start in both the Nations League and World Cup.
CB - Fikayo Tomori
Fikayo Tomori appears to have been a brilliant signing for AC Milan since moving to Italy in January 2021.
The former Chelsea youngster helped the Serie A club claim the league title this season, however he’s continued to struggle to force his way into Southgate’s plans.
Harry Maguire’s poor form may finally hand Tomori a chance in the England set-up.
LWB - Kieran Trippier
While Trippier is primarily a right-back, the Newcastle star’s superb start to the campaign meant he had to get in the side one way or another.
Chelsea ‘s Ben Chilwell and Manchester United’s Shaw have both spent a lot of the season on the bench following the arrivals of Marc Cucurella and Tyrell Malacia at their respective club, leaving Trippier as the best option for that spot on the left.
CM - Jude Bellingham
Jude Bellingham has been a shining star for Borussia Dortmund in recent seasons and most recently scored his second goal of the Champions League campaign against Man City.
The 19-year-old could prove to be a real asset for England at the World Cup - if Southgate starts him.
CM - James Ward-Prowse
There haven’t actually been many impressive performances among England’s midfielders this season, with Mason Mount yet to pick up a goal contribution and Declan Rice’s West Ham sat in the relegation zone.
With Kalvin Phillips also out injured, Ward-Prowse will step up to the plate after claiming one goal and one assist for Southampton.
RW - Bukayo Saka
Bukayo Saka has arguably been one of Arsenal’s ‘quieter’ players this season among the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Jesus - however the 21-year-old has bagged five goal contributions in seven matches as the Gunners sit top of the Premier League.
The winger has massively improved since last summer’s Euro 2021 tournament and could be brilliant for the Three Lions this time round.
LW - Phil Foden
This position could have very easily been occupied by Raheem Sterling, however it is difficult not to include Phil Foden in any England team.
The Man City ace looked to make a real impact at the Euros before he was injured and that could be the case again this time round.
Foden has two goals and two assists so far in the Premier League this season.
ST - Harry Kane
It was an awfully close call between the skipper and Brentford’s Ivan Toney, but the Spurs striker just edges it.
England’s captain has scored an impressive six goals in seven Premier League games this season, while Toney has netted on five occasions.
Kane is currently just three goals away from equalling Wayne Rooney’s all-time record of 53 goals for England’s senior side.