To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Not now
OK
Advert

Rio Ferdinand Picks His England Starting XI For World Cup And Goes For Three At The Back

Published 
| Last updated 

Rio Ferdinand Picks His England Starting XI For World Cup And Goes For Three At The Back

Rio Ferdinand has named his England starting XI for the World Cup later this year, urging Gareth Southgate to play with four full-backs in defence.

England played with three at the back at the last showpiece in Russia, where they reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1990.

Southgate's side were more flexible at Euro 2020 but reverted to the back three system for the final against Wembley.

Image: PA
Image: PA
Advert

Personnel may change somewhat but Ferdinand already his XI in mind for England's first game in Qatar.

The former Manchester United defender believes Southgate should play both Reece James and Kyle Walker in the same backline as Harry Maguire.

He also reckons Trent Alexander-Arnold and Luke Shaw need to be in as wing-backs to provide the much-needed width and balance up and down the flanks.

Image: PA
Image: PA
Advert

If it was up to Ferdinand, Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice would anchor the midfield, with Phil Foden playing as a No.10 - just behind the pairing of Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane.

"I’m gonna go three at the back as I think that’s our best chance. [Harry] Maguire on the left, Kyle Walker central and Reece James on the right,” Ferdinand said on the Vibe with Five podcast.

“Trent [Alexander-Arnold] at right wing-back and [Luke] Shaw left wing-back. I’m gonna go Declan [Rice] and [Jude] Bellingham (in midfield). Foden in the hole and then two strikers [Raheem] Sterling and [Harry] Kane.”

Advert


Ferdinand's co-host laughed in response to his surprise backline, which only contained one traditional central defender in Maguire.

But the 43-year-old defended his choices and offered an explanation for his side, which he feels is best suited to go far.

"Reece James coming out with the ball coming into midfield because he can do that, he played midfield as a kid," Ferdinand explained.

Advert

"Trent out on the right. Walker centre, he’s covering the whole backline on his own.

“My midfield, Declan, Jude and Foden dropping in as a No.10 and coming back into midfield. Free role for Sterling, he can go where he wants, Kane holding the ball up and running behind.”

Image: PA
Image: PA

England won their second friendly in a matter of days last night, beating 10-man Ivory Coast 3-0 courtesy of goals from Ollie Watkins, Raheem Sterling and Tyrone Mings.

Advert

But the win was perhaps overshadowed by Maguire being booed by England fans, prompting Gareth Southgate to strongly condemn the jeers and brand the reaction "an absolute joke".

England will find out their group stage opponents on Friday when the World Cup draw takes place.

Featured Image Credit: PA & Vibe with Five

Topics: Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United, England, Football World Cup

Josh Lawless
More like this
Advert
Advert
Advert

Chosen for YouChosen for You

Football

Mike Dean admits he got decision wrong over Cristian Romero’s hair pull on Marc Cucurella

8 hours ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Nottingham Forest agree stunning £44.5m deal for Wolves midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White

15 hours ago