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Harry Maguire and Raheem Sterling reportedly set to start for England in World Cup opener against Iran

Jack Kenmare

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Harry Maguire and Raheem Sterling reportedly set to start for England in World Cup opener against Iran

Gareth Southgate has backed out-of-form stars Harry Maguire and Raheem Sterling for England's World Cup opener against Iran, according to reports, while Phil Foden misses out.

In total, nine of the eleven players who started in their European Championship final defeat to Italy last summer will start.

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, a constant in Southgate's plans, will feature between the sticks against Iran ahead of Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale, according to The Sun.

The back four will consist of Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire, John Stones and Kieran Trippier, who has been in superb form for high flying Newcastle this season.

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Southgate has opted for a midfield three of Mason Mount, Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice.

And to complete the predicted 4-3-3 formation, Chelsea forward Raheem Sterling will play alongside captain Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka in the front three – a piece of team news that may surprise England fans on the eve of Monday's clash.

It means Manchester City attacking midfielder Phil Foden, who has been one of the Premier League's best performers this campaign, will reportedly miss out.

Kyle Walker, meanwhile, is deemed not fit enough to feature against minnows Iran.

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy

James Maddison will also miss out after missing the Three Lions' last three training sessions in the Qatar heat.

The report suggests England will line-up in a 'bold' 4-3-3 formation, while the Daily Mail suggest Southgate will opt for a 4-2-3-1 of Pickford; Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Bellingham; Mount; Sterling, Kane and Saka.

Here's how fans reacted to the team news.

One fan said: "Great that Saka is starting tomorrow, but why instead of Foden? Play both," while another commented: "What has Maguire done to deserve a start over Ben White?"

A third wrote: "Mount and Sterling are both in dreadful form, Maguire isn't good enough to lace his own boots.

Southgate still sticking to his favourites."

Ahead of their opener against Iran, England boss Gareth Southgate confirmed his team will take the knee ahead of kick-off.

"We have discussed taking the knee," Southgate said at a news conference. "We feel we should."

He added: "Of course we understand in the Premier League that the clubs have decided to only do that for certain games, big occasions.

"We feel this is the biggest and we think it's a strong statement that will go around the world for young people, in particular, to see that inclusivity is very important."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: England, Football World Cup, Gareth Southgate, Harry Maguire, Raheem Sterling

Jack Kenmare
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