Former Manchester United and England defender Paul Parker believes Gareth Southgate will pick Kieran Trippier, Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling against Croatia.
I think that Gareth Southgate will stick to what he knows at the back. Jordan Pickford will get picked ahead of Dean Henderson and Sam Johnstone.
I imagine at the back he will choose John Stones, Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker. On the left Luke Shaw has been consistent all season for Manchester United. On the right is Kieran Trippier, who has won La Liga with Atletico Madrid.
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In midfield, Southgate presumably only picked Jordan Henderson because he intends to pick him if he can, even if his overall inclusion doesn’t make any sense because of the fitness problems. Chelsea’s Mason Mount has to be there in midfield, and with the England manager’s predisposition to being defensive, Declan Rice would make sense to make a defensive midfield.
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Up front, I think Kane is the obvious choice to lead the line and it’s the one that Southgate will go with. As for his partner, it’s a bit more complicated, but perhaps Raheem Sterling will be included to create and operate towards the left side. That would allow Mount to push on as part of the right of a three.
I think people will be screaming for Jack Grealish to play, but he hasn’t got enough experience and he didn’t play much in the back end of the season. The only player who he should be straining to fit into that team is Phil Foden, but this is a prediction of what he’ll do, rather than what I believe is the finest XI England could field.
He’ll play with two holding players and he won’t be expansive. Ball-players aren't his preference, because we aren’t going to approach the game like that. It’s too early for risks, but he might roll the dice if the first result doesn’t go his way.
Predicted XI: Pickford; Shaw, Trippier; Walker, Maguire, Stones; Henderson; Mount, Rice; Sterling, Kane.
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