England embark their quest for a World Cup glory in a few days’ time. In general, they have a young squad and a relatively less experienced manager if big stages are taken into account. Gareth Southgate has taken some bold decisions thus far with regards to squad selection for the big prize tournament.
He has handpicked the £100,000-a-week Harry Kane to captain the country in Russia, which can work both ways for the team. However, on the positive side, this England team under their manager Southgate and captain Kane could take the World by surprise.
While appointing the striker as his captain, Southgate clearly stated the need for a benchmark player to become a leader of his team. According to him, it allows other teammates to follow the standards set by the captain on the field.
In terms of setting a standard, there’s no better way than a striker scoring a goal and lifting his team up. Kane has the ability to do both of that.
Most of the squad players perform in the Premier League week in week out. We all know the intensity of this league and how it can either make or break a player. Well, Southgate has gone for players who have made themselves a name by proving their worth on the big stage.
The likes of Jesse Lingard, Raheem Sterling, Jamie Vardy have profited this season with goals and assists. They will also be able to help Kane in terms of options up top for England. In midfield, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will be of great help.
His run with Liverpool all the way to the Champions League final will aid England with experience in a big game. Eric Dier is also a young player with a calm head and has the know-how of how tournament football goes about.
The defence is where the Three Lions have a problem. Even though the likes of Kyle Walker, John Stones and Harry Maguire have great potential, their inexperience of playing in a partnership may cause trouble for Southgate’s men.
The goalkeeping issue still remains unsolved. With Joe Hart left out, England are left with options that haven’t even played a single minute of international tournament football. This is a major concern.
However, they have good attacking options to cause problems to the opposition. As suggested by the manager, they will probably play 3 at the back with a front-three. Hence, there is a massive chance that Lingard, Sterling and Kane start as forwards.
England are grouped with Panama, Tunisia and Belgium – a relatively easy group for them with the only real test being the game against the Belgians.
Despite all the permutations, the Three Lions would be expected to reach the knockout stages and from there on, it is all about the team playing better on the day. If that is the case, England are capable of toppling the best on their day.