England

England predicted lineup vs Hungary - World Cup qualifier

Toby Cudworth
Gareth Southgate is back to work with England
Gareth Southgate is back to work with England / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
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The wounds from England's Euro 2020 final defeat against Italy on penalties may still be open, but the Three Lions must put that disappointment to bed and focus on dispatching Hungary in their opening game of World Cup qualification.

The 2022 tournament gets underway in just 14 months time, with the footballing calendar well and truly skewed because of the enforced delays brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

England must first book their place in Qatar, and kick off their qualifying campaign with a difficult looking trip to Hungary. The Puskas Arena will be filled to capacity, roaring on the home side like we saw during Euro 2020, and that will be difficult to block out even though Gareth Southgate's side should be full of confidence in their own abilities.

There won't be many changes from the side who faced Italy just under two months ago, with Southgate likely to keep faith with many of the players who got England through to a first major final in 55 years. Here's the Three Lions' predicted lineup...


England predicted lineup vs Hungary - World Cup qualifier

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Reece James
Reece James has looked sharp for Chelsea / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Jordan Pickford (GK) - There's only one goalkeeper in contention for an England start in goal and that's Jordan Pickford.

Reece James (RB) - Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier could all argue they are worthy of a start, but James' superb start to the season - red card at Liverpool aside - may tip the scales in his favour.

John Stones (CB) - Southgate won't be enjoying Stones' sudden return to Manchester City's bench, but he's still one of England's best two central defenders.

Harry Maguire (CB) - One of the first names on the team sheet, Maguire's coolness under pressure will be required in the inevitable cauldron of noise.

Luke Shaw (LB) - Has enjoyed a brilliant 12 months and is England's clear first choice left-back.


2. Midfielders

Kalvin Phillips
England's player of the year is a certain starter if fit / LAURENCE GRIFFITHS/Getty Images

Declan Rice (CM) - You'd forgive Rice for allowing his performance levels to drop after a busy summer, but West Ham's on-field captain has continued to be brilliant for his club. A start here could earn a rest in future games.

Kalvin Phillips (CM) - Winner of England's player of the year award, there are few things more certain than another start for Phillips.

Mason Mount (CM) - A real favourite of every manager he's played for, Mount's work rate and creativity will be crucial to England maintaining control and breaking the deadlock.


3. Forwards

Harry Kane
Kane is keen to put his summer transfer saga behind him / Carl Recine - Pool/Getty Images

Raheem Sterling (RW) - Not currently in favour under Pep Guardiola, this is weirdly an audition for Sterling to prove he deserves a place in City's side ahead of...*checks notes*...England teammate, Jack Grealish. Ahh.

Harry Kane (ST) - England's captain needs to get back to what he does best after a weird old summer - scoring goals.

Jack Grealish (LW) - There are options aplenty for Southgate out wide, but few have a stronger case to be in England's best XI right now than the most expensive British footballer ever.

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