Harry Maguire and Jude Bellingham are expected to start for England against Italy on Friday.
Maguire has not started a Premier League game for Manchester United in the past six weeks, but is still seen by Gareth Southgate as a key leader of the English defense.
However, the England manager is likely to give Maguire extra cover and start with three centre-backs at the San Siro.
With Kalvin Phillips undergoing shoulder surgery and Jordan Henderson still recovering from a hamstring injury, Bellingham will have the chance to impress in the Nations League tonight, alongside Declan Rice.
The 19-year-old is in excellent form in Germany and has started in all 10 appearances for Borussia Dortmund this season in the Bundesliga, Champions League and German Cup.
Henderson is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a hamstring injury, and although he will not play against Italy, Southgate hopes he will be fit enough to play Germany at Wembley on Monday.
Brentford striker Ivan Toney is not in the match selection along with Ben Chilwell, Marc Guehi, the suspended John Stones and Henderson.
Analysis: Bellingham form claimed starting berth
Sky Sports News senior reporter Rob Dorsett:
“It would be a huge moment for Bellingham. It would only be his fifth start for England but a 16th cap, which is extraordinary considering he is only 19 years old. He has been involved in the set-up since he was 17 of England – when he was first called up under Southgate.
“His influence, his abilities and his confidence have grown over the past two years, both for Borussia Dortmund and for England.
“His form for Dortmund requires him to start tonight, in fact. He has played more games this season than any other player in this English squad – 10 games in the Bundesliga, in the Champions League and the German Cup. He has started every game for Dortmund and scored three goals.
“When you consider that Kalvin Phillips withdrew from this squad and is about to have shoulder surgery, Jordan Henderson is on this squad but is recovering from a hamstring injury, I think it became increasingly likely that Bellingham would get his chance.
“However, starting Maguire is a controversial decision given his lack of football at Manchester United.”
Southgate ‘throws support behind Maguire’
The Guardian’s Manchester football correspondent Jamie Jackson told Sky Sports:
“It’s no surprise to see Gareth Southgate support Harry Maguire as he has been impeccable for England.
“He was on the team that took England to the semi-finals of the World Cup and the final of the European Championship.
“He has lost his place at Manchester United. It was a big call from Erik ten Hag, but it’s not that surprising. I thought it would be Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez as first choice.”
“Southgate says it’s okay because it’s only a few games after the pre-season. He did say it could become a problem if he doesn’t have a lot of playing time between now and the World Cup.
“But I don’t see him returning to the team. With this three-man defense that Gareth likes to play, I still think that even if Maguire doesn’t come back to United, I think he will be the first choice.” for the World Cup.”
Nations League status: England in trouble?
When A3 was drawn, Hungary It quickly seemed like the favorites to finish at the bottom of this highly competitive group, but Marco Rossi’s side have amassed seven points from their first four games and are currently at the top of the table.
Hungary’s most recent match saw them take a shocking 4-0 win England at Wembley in June. Their match against Germany in Leipzig on Friday will be crucial as the winners know that another win on Monday’s final day will guarantee them a place in the final.
Italy are just two points behind Hungary and face them next week in Budapest, meaning the European champions are still in the running in Group A3.
Group A3: Other luminaires
- Germany vs Hungary – Leipzig, Friday September 23
- Italy vs England – Milan, Friday September 23
- England vs Germany – Wembley, Monday 26 September
- Hungary vs Italy – Budapest, Monday 26 September
The only team unable to reach the final is England, who are winless and face an arduous task to avoid the shame of relegation to League B for the first time.
Friday’s defeat to Italy confirms the relegation of Gareth Southgate’s team, who realistically must win at Milan and at home to Germany on Monday if they are to stay.
England Group B World Cup matches
November 21st: Iran (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan) – kick-off 1:00 PM
November 25th: United States (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor) – Kick-off 7pm
Nov 29: Wales (Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan) – Kick-off 7pm
Choose your England starting eleven for the 2022 World Cup
Gareth Southgate has revealed his latest England squad, but who would make your starting XI?
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