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How England should line up at the World Cup: White instead of Maguire and Sterling over Rashford

13:00 GMT+4 19/11/2022
White Maguire Southgate Sterling England World Cup GFX
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has some big decisions to make ahead of Monday's opening group-stage game with Iran.

The wait is almost over. England will finally get their 2022 World Cup under way on Monday afternoon when they take on Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium.

The Three Lions reached the semi-finals in Russia four years ago and then went even closer at Euro 2022, losing to Italy on penalties in the final at Wembley.

So, this time around, they are looking to go one step further in Qatar and finally get their hands on a first major international trophy since 1966.

But who should Gareth Southgate pick to start the tournament against Iran?

We asked GOAL correspondent Charles Watts for his chosen 11 and he went for a 4-3-3 formation with the following players...

  • Jordan Pickford England 2021

    GK: Jordan Pickford

    His club form may have been questioned from time to time, but Pickford is a mainstay in the England team and deserves his place at No.1.

    And, despite a few errors, he was impressive for the Toffees last season, playing a major role in keeping them up as they picked up crucial points towards the end of the campaign.

    He has big tournament experience and is a fine shot-stopper. He is also good with the ball at his feet, which is a key attribute given the way England try and play.

    Aaron Ramsdale and Nick Pope are both having good seasons in the Premier League, but Pickford is still just ahead of them in the England pecking order.

  • Trippier-Newcastle-2022-23

    RB: Kieran Trippier

    What a season Trippier is having with Newcastle!

    With Reece James injured, Kyle Walker still not fully fit and with Trent Alexander-Arnold struggling for form, Tripper has to be the starting right-back for England at this tournament.

    He has been exceptional since returning to the Premier League in January, both defensively and going forward.

    Trippier’s set-piece delivery is as good as anyone and he has the tournament experience that is often needed when the pressure really begins to build.

    An easy choice.

  • Ben White Arsenal

    CB: Ben White

    It doesn’t matter that Ben White has been playing as a right-back for Arsenal this season, he should still be one of the two starting centre-backs for England in Qatar.

    White is just an incredibly gifted footballer. The fact he has performed so well playing out of position this season is proof of that.

    He is quick, he reads the game exceptionally and you won’t find a defender more comfortable in possession than he is.

    If the out-of-form and under-played Harry Maguire starts ahead of him, it will be a laughable decision on Southgate's part.

    White should be one of the first names down on the England team sheet, and an integral part of the England defence for the foreseeable future.

  • John Stones England

    CB: John Stones

    A Stones and White central defensive partnership is a very exciting prospect for England.

    Both are excellent on the ball and have the ability to be progressive when they are looking to play out from the back.

    They are both strong defenders and have good recovery pace to get themselves out of tricky situations if needed.

    Stones has not featured in every game for City this season, but he has still played enough to be sharp and match fit.

    Another player who knows what is needed in major tournaments, he has a clear edge over the likes of Conor Coady.

  • Luke Shaw Manchester United 2022-23

    LB: Luke Shaw

    Selecting a left-back was tough.

    If Reece James had been fit, I would have moved Kieran Trippier over to the left side of the defence, which says a lot about the other options Gareth Southgate has available to him.

    Ben Chillwell would have been my pick to play there had he not been ruled out through injury, he would have been my pick, but now it has to be Luke Shaw.

    After a slow start to the season, he has featured in 13 of Manchester United’s last 14 games in all competitions, starting eight of them.

    His form has improved and he played well in England’s final warm-up game against Germany. His performances in Euro 2020 also shouldn’t be forgotten.

  • Declan Rice

    CDM: Declan Rice

    A nailed-on starter.

    Rice has been the mainstay of England’s midfield for some time now and is the only player who can play that role in front of the back four.

    In the 4-3-3 system, he would play in the deeper central role and provide some cover to the back four while also looking forward when he can.

    The West Ham captain is strong, quick and can be dangerous in the final third when he drives forward.

    He's way ahead of Jordan Henderson now. The Liverpool skipper is still a useful squad player, but he can't be starting games, and Kalvin Phillips simply hasn't played enough football to be considered just yet.

  • Jude Bellingham England 2022

    CM: Jude Bellingham

    With Rice playing in the deeper midfield role, Bellingham could play slightly more advanced so that he has more license to make those runs into the box which have become his forte at Borussia Dortmund.

    This feels like it could be a breakout tournament for Bellingham, who has enjoyed an exceptional couple of years in Germany and appears ready to really make his mark on the global stage.

    His excellent engine means he can get back to help out Rice defensively when needs be, but also that he will be able to get forward and provide England with that extra attacking option when they go forward.

    Jack Grealish could also come into contention for this role, as could Mason Mount, but Bellingham is certain to start on Monday.

  • Phil Foden Manchester City 2022-23

    CM: Phil Foden

    Out of the three-man midfield, Foden should be given licence to float around the front three, almost playing as a No.10.

    He can’t just forget his defensive duties, but with Rice and Bellingham behind him, the Manchester City playmaker will be able to concentrate on what he does best.

    I don’t like seeing Foden being asked to play out wide; I much prefer him when he can operate in a more central role in the final third.

    James Maddison could also play in this position in the 4-3-3, as could Conor Gallagher or Grealish, but for me, Foden has to be in the side.

  • Bukayo Saka England

    RW: Bukayo Saka

    An easy decision. There is simply no better option than Saka on the right of the front three.

    He hasn’t been at his very best for Arsenal yet this season, but he has still scored four Premier League goals and picked up a further six assists.

    England need goal threats on the pitch, they need attackers who will look to take players on. Saka gives you all that and more. He has to play.

  • Harry Kane Tottenham 2022-23

    CF: Harry Kane

    The easiest decision of the lot. Kane is England’s captain and their best striker by a distance.

    Callum Wilson is having a fine season, but Kane’s record for club and country speaks for itself. No other forward in the squad comes close to him in terms of quality and experience.

    He won the Golden Boot at the last World Cup and it would be no surprise to see him do it again this time round.

  • Raheem Sterling Chelsea 2022-23 HIC 16:9

    LW: Raheem Sterling

    This was a tough one.

    Marcus Rashford has been in good form for Manchester United of late and is an option to start on the left of the attack.

    However, given his goal record for England and his performances at Euro 2020, Sterling just keeps his place for me.

    He knows what tournament football is all about and has always been a player who has stood up when England has needed him.

    And while his club form for Chelsea has not been the best, he has still scored five goals for the Blues in all competitions this season.

  • England XI

    The England starting XI

    So here it is in full. The England line-up I want to see at the World Cup in Qatar.

    Scrap the three at the back. Let's go 4-3-3 and take advantage of the excellent attacking talent that Southgate has at his disposal.