Gareth Southgate’s future as England boss has been placed under further pressure following the Three Lions’ 1-1 stalemate with Ukraine on Saturday.
England maintains a commanding six-point lead in their Euro 2024 qualifying group. However, Southgate faced criticism for substituting players like Jude Bellingham, who has been outstanding for Real Madrid this season.
In his post-game comments, Southgate acknowledged that the team didn’t quite find their rhythm: “The reality is that we won’t win every match by the same margins as we have in this qualifying campaign. It was a challenging test, particularly away from home, amidst a fervent atmosphere. We had to make several changes from our previous game, and sometimes, especially in our attacking play, the pieces don’t quite fit together.”
The Three Lions are set to play at Hampden Park on Tuesday, engaging in a friendly against Scotland to commemorate the 150th anniversary of football’s oldest rivalry. All eyes will be on Southgate’s lineup, with many uncertainties surrounding his current best XI.
Meanwhile, SPORTbible have selected the XI we believe would give Southgate the best chance of keeping his job. Take a look below
The inclusion of Jordan Pickford hardly needs any justification at this point. The Everton goalkeeper has firmly established himself as England’s number one, consistently delivering crucial saves over the years.
In the right-back position, Southgate has a wealth of options, including Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James, and Kieran Trippier. Given his recent goal-scoring performance for England against Ukraine and the injuries to Alexander-Arnold and James, Walker seems to be the logical choice.
For our central defensive pairing, we’ve selected Fikayo Tomori and Levi Colwill. Colwill made a significant impression during England’s under-21 Euro 2023 championship-winning campaign. While John Stones would typically be an automatic selection, his hip injury rules him out, providing an opportunity for Tomori to showcase his skills.
On the left-hand side, with Luke Shaw unavailable, Chilwell is expected to get the nod.
Now, turning our attention to the midfield, a youthful trio consisting of Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, and Phil Foden represents the kind of midfield combination that England fans have long yearned for. This trio brings with it speed, creativity, and dynamic play.
While Rice and Bellingham have become mainstays in Southgate’s tournament squads, Foden has sometimes been overlooked. However, the 23-year-old has excelled as part of a midfield trio for Manchester City this season and has truly impressed.
In the attacking department, Bukayo Saka has virtually made himself indispensable, earning England’s Player of the Year award for the second consecutive year as an Arsenal winger.
Captain Harry Kane is another player who requires minimal justification. The 30-year-old is adept at both scoring and providing assists to his teammates. On the left flank, Marcus Rashford deserves an opportunity after being absent from the lineup against Ukraine.