England predicted line-up vs. Australia - Chelsea and Arsenal stars ready for debuts as six changes made
Latest team news and injury updates as the Three Lions prepare to face Australia at Wembley on Friday evening.
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England take on Australia this Friday evening at Wembley, in a friendly that will serve as an opportunity for the hosts to get themselves in shape ahead of a key European Championships qualifying match against Italy on Tuesday.
While the game may offer some fringe players a rare opportunity to get some minutes in an England shirt – and a chance for Levi Colwill and Eddie Nketiah to make their debuts - Gareth Southgate rarely takes friendlies anything less than seriously and will want to make sure that players who need action ahead of the Italy game get it.
We’ve rounded up all the latest team news and injury updates ahead of the visit of the Socceroos and taken our best stab at a predicted Three Lions line-up below.
Goalkeeper & Defence
The absence through injury of both Ben Chilwell and Luke Shaw means that England have a vacancy at left-back, one which has typically been filled by Kieran Trippier in the past – but Colwill’s performances on the left side for Chelsea have been hugely impressive, and it seems likely that he will be given a chance to impress.
The situation at centre-back is harder to predict. Harry Maguire often sits friendlies out but needs minutes under his belt, while John Stones, another player who might typically be rested, may need some time on the pitch thanks to his very recent recovery from injury. Fikayo Tomori, Marc Guéhi and Lewis Dunk will also be battling for a chance to show Southgate what they can do.
In goal, the England boss could easily give Aaron Ramsdale a game with Jordan Pickford all but undisputed as the first-choice goalkeeper at this point. Three-cap Sam Johnstone is the other goalkeeper in the squad.
The current Three Lions squad is very light on midfield options, and Declan Rice is likely to be given a breather ahead of the Italy match in favour of making sure Kalvin Phillips gets some rare match action. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Gallagher and Jordan Henderson will compete to line up alongside the Manchester City man.
James Maddison, who has generally played on the left for England, may also get a chance to show off his skills in the central role he has impressed in for table-topping Tottenham Hotspur if Southgate decides to manage Jude Bellingham’s minutes – the best young player on the planet will certainly start against Italy if fit and ready.
Bukayo Saka will play no part in either of England’s matches despite his selection after he withdrew from the squad following further assessment of a hamstring injury that he aggravated in Arsenal’s Champions League game against RC Lens.
Southgate otherwise has a full set of forward to choose from and will likely want to give Nketiah a chance to win his first cap – but in-form Ollie Watkins is likely to be preferred up front after he received his first call-up since March 2022. Harry Kane will most probably start on the bench for the friendly game.
Jarrod Bowen, also recalled after impressing at West Ham United this season, will probably be given the chance to show what he can do in Saka’s right wing role, while Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford compete for the left-side slot.
Full predicted line-up vs. Australia
Ramsdale; Colwill, Maguire, Guéhi, Tripper; Phillips, Gallagher, Bellingham; Grealish, Watkins, Bowen.