Rio Ferdinand, a former Manchester United defender, has selected the England starting eleven he would want to see Gareth Southgate field at the World Cup this winter.
The Three Lions breezed through qualification for Qatar and will be seeking to improve on their Euro 2020 final failure and claim the title for the first time since 1966. England handily defeated Ivory Coast in a friendly on Tuesday night, giving Southgate enough to think about.
Ollie Watkins, Raheem Sterling, and Tyrone Mings all scored in the 3-0 triumph, but there were plenty of players who shined on the night and earlier in their 2-1 win over Switzerland. Southgate faces a difficult challenge in selecting his best eleven, but Ferdinand has provided guidance.
“I’m going to go three at the back because I believe that’s our greatest chance.” “I like [Harry] Maguire on the left, Kyle Walker in the middle, and Reece James on the right,” he remarked on his Vibe with Five podcasts.
“[Trent] Alexander-Arnold at right wing-back, [Luke] Shaw at left wing-back.” Declan [Rice] and [Jude] Bellingham will accompany me (in midfield). Foden in the hole, followed by [Raheem] Sterling and [Harry] Kane.” The planned team made his co-host giggle, but Ferdinand refused to believe that it would not be effective.
“Reece James comes out with the ball coming into midfield because he can do that, he played midfield as a kid,” the Red Devils hero continued. Trent is the one on the right. Walker, in the center, is covering the entire backline on his own.
“My midfield, Declan, Jude, and Foden coming back into midfield and dropping in as a No10.” Sterling has a free role; he can go wherever he wants, with Kane holding the ball up and rushing behind.” Due to the Nations League matchups throughout the summer, Kane is expected to be England’s all-time leading scorer by the time the World Cup rolls around, and he looks certain to lead the side into another championship.
Sterling has also regularly performed well under Southgate, and his efforts at Euro 2020 were among the greatest of his career, with many believing that if England had defeated Italy in the final, Sterling would have earned Player of the Tournament.
Bellingham impressed over the international break, and the Borussia Dortmund midfielder has a good chance of replacing Mason Mount in Southgate’s favored midfield three if he adheres to his tactics in Qatar.
The 18-year-old has recently been linked with moves to Manchester United and Liverpool, and the midfielder is sure to pique the curiosity of other European powerhouses if he maintains his current form. Ferdinand’s choice to pitch four fullbacks in a five-man defense is uncharacteristic of England, although Kyle Walker has excelled in a similar capacity for England in previous tournaments, with Luke Shaw also appreciating the opportunity to move forward in left wingback.