England predicted line-up vs. Italy: Eleven changes made as Man Utd & Man City stars return
All the latest team news and injury updates as England prepare for a crucial Euro 2024 qualifying match against Italy at Wembley on Tuesday evening.
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England face Italy at Wembley tonight at 19:45 BST in a game that could see the Three Lions qualify for the 2024 European Championships in Germany – if England win, their place is assured with two matches to spare. Gareth Southgate will most certainly put out what he believes to be his strongest available side.
It’s fair to say that few of fringe players involved in the stultifying 1-0 friendly win over Australia on Friday evening will have forced their way into the starting eleven – so we can expect to see plenty of changes with qualification on the line. We’ve corralled all the latest team news, injury updates and selection rumours here for you.
Goalkeeper & Defence
Crystal Palace’s Sam Johnstone, who has yet to concede a goal in an England shirt, is in excellent form and made some key saves against the Australians, but for such an important match Southgate will almost certainly go back to his tried and tested number one, Jordan Pickford.
The same logic means that we can expect Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker to be recalled, with John Stones likely to partner Maguire in central defence if fully fit – Marc Guéhi will probably be the next man up if Southgate decides Stones isn’t in sufficient shape or Maguire isn’t in sufficient form. There are no strong indications that the latter issue has bothered Southgate enough to change his mind about the former Manchester United captain yet.
The other big decision Southgate faces is at left-back. With Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell both unavailable through injury, he will have to decide whether Levi Colwill showed enough against the Socceroos to keep his place or whether Kieran Trippier will be asked to deputise. The Newcastle United man is the low-risk option, which is usually the one Southgate takes.
Jordan Henderson has been a regular part of Southgate’s plans but a tepid performance against Australia combined with boos from the stands after his move to the Saudi Pro League mean that he could well be replaced by Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips, although there is of course a concern over the number of minutes the former Leeds United man has played this season. Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham seem almost certain to start barring late injuries, so two of the three midfield places are essentially spoken for, with Henderson v Phillips likely the only quandary Southgate is seriously mulling over.
Captain Harry Kane will reprise the number nine role despite Ollie Watkins’ winning goal at the end of last week – while the Aston Villa forward has impressed in recent weeks, there is no chance that Southgate won’t go with his best and most reliable striker for such a big occasion.
He has plenty of choices out wide but current reports from the England camp, along with inferences taken from his selection against Australia, suggest that Marcus Rashford will play wide left while Phil Foden will take up duties on the right-hand flank. Bukayo Saka is of course unavailable after withdrawing from the squad due to a hamstring injury.
Full predicted England line-up vs. Italy
Pickford; Trippier, Maguire, Stones, Walker; Rice, Phillips, Bellingham; Rashford, Kane, Foden.