Belgium vs England: Picking a Combined XI Ahead of Nations League Clash

Ross Jackson
Nov 14, 2020, 6:45 PM GMT
Harry Kane tussles with Toby Alderweireld
Harry Kane tussles with Toby Alderweireld | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

England make the trip to Belgium on Sunday for must-win League A Group 2 clash in the UEFA Nations League, with both sides harbouring hopes of progressing to the finals next year.

When these two European powerhouses met back in October it was Gareth Southgate's men who prevailed, with Marcus Rashford's penalty and a second-half Mason Mount strike cancelling out Romelu Lukaku's early spot kick.

England failed to capitalise on their impressive win, going down 1-0 at home to Denmark just a few days later, though Thursdays comfortable 3-0 friendly win over the Republic of Ireland will have provided a confidence boost ahead of the trip to Belgium.

Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez's men have enjoyed an unblemished record since their Wembley defeat, notching back-to-back 2-1 wins over Iceland and Switzerland.

Both sides have a tendency to look suspect at the back while possessing some world-class options going forward. See if you agree with our combined XI.

1. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Kyle Walker has had a turbulent start to the campaign but on his day he's a top defender
Kyle Walker has had a turbulent start to the campaign but on his day he's a top defender | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Thibaut Courtois (GK) - Both England and Belgium rested their first-choice goalkeepers in the week, with Simon Mignolet, Nick Pope and Dean Henderson featuring for their respective countries. However, it's back to business for this important clash and Courtois is undoubtedly the pick of the bunch.

Kyle Walker (RB) - If ever there was an enigma in football it's this man. He can look a world-class defender one day and then a complete clown the next. We're picking him based on the former, obviously.

Jason Denayer (CB) - After numerous loan moves during his time with Manchester City, Denayer has established himself as a key part of Lyon's back line. The 25-year-old seems to be firmly set in Martinez's plans for the national side and has looked solid when given the opportunity.

Toby Alderweireld (CB) -
31-year-old Alderweireld may not be at the peak of his powers anymore, but given the lack of defensive options between these two countries he still represents a starter in our combined XI.

Ben Chilwell (LB) - The new man at Stamford Bridge has made a great start to life as a Chelsea player and looks to have nailed down the left wing-back position for England.

2. Wing-Backs & Midfielders

Kevin De Bruyne skips away from the challenge of Declan Rice
Kevin De Bruyne skips away from the challenge of Declan Rice | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Jack Grealish (RM) - With Jadon Sancho not quite hitting the heights of last season and none of the Belgian contingent standing out as right-sided options, in-form Jack Grealish deservedly gets the nod. The Aston Villa captain has five goals and six assists already for club and country this season.

Jordan Henderson (CM) - Henderson's energy and leadership are a must in any lineup, and while he may not be as technically proficient as some of the names available, he is the only one who can provide the mettle that any winning team requires.

Kevin De Bruyne (CM) -
There's not much more we need to say about this man. The best midfielder in Europe and would stroll into any combined XI. Can play anywhere in the midfield and with one goal and seven assists to his name already this season he's looking as sharp as ever.

Raheem Sterling (LM) - An in-form and coronavirus-free Eden Hazard would have challenged Sterling here, but as it is the England star is a guaranteed starter. One of the best wingers on the planet, Sterling has once again made a fast start to the season.

3. Forwards

Harry Kane in action with the Three Lions
Harry Kane in action with the Three Lions | Pool/Getty Images

Harry Kane (ST) - Looks to have adapted his game slightly this season as he almost drops back into a midfield role at times and looks to dictate play. Nevertheless, he's still proving deadly in front of goal and could make a great case for being the best centre forward on the planet.

Romelu Lukaku (ST) - Given the amount of quality wide players these two sides have it seems a shame to play with two orthodox strikers, but we couldn't leave this man out. With five goals in as many Serie A games this season he looks to be on red-hot form and will be keen to add to his 55 international goals on Sunday.