Declan Rice is one of a number of absentees for England
Declan Rice is one of a number of absentees for England

International football returns tonight as countries across Europe look to book their spot at the 2022 World Cup.

Gareth Southgate's England play Albania tomorrow evening and preparations for the clash have been hit by injuries and illness.

England focus

A number of withdrawals mean Southgate will be without some of his England regulars against Albania and San Marino.

But that opens up opportunities for others and Arsenal youngster Emile Smith Rowe is one of the beneficiaries.

Called up to replace the injured Marcus Rashford, Smith Rowe will want to replicate his club form for the Three Lions.

Read more: Smith Rowe Gunning for the top with club and country

One area that constantly gives Southgate a selection headache is the right-back spot.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James, Kyle Walker and even the dropped Kieran Trippier could all lay claim to being the country’s first choice.

We discuss who should be in the England boss’ starting XI.

Read more: The battle to be England's starting right-back
Reece James is one of a number of players battling for the right-back spot
Reece James is one of a number of players battling for the right-back spot

Republic of Ireland vs Portugal

Portugal take on the Republic of Ireland tonight knowing three points are vital in the battle for World Cup qualification.

Cristiano Ronaldo's side are one point behind Serbia at the top of Group A but this is their game in hand on their rivals.

And with the two meeting in a group decider on Sunday, the Portuguese will land a huge blow if they can see off the struggling Irish.

One man who could be key for them is Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo — we turn the spotlight on the 27-year-old.

Read more: First-class Citizen Cancelo is key to Portugal’s quest for Qatar

Keeping you informed

Teams will continue to book their spots at Qatar 2022 over the next six days of international football.

Keep checking our guide to those who have qualified to make sure you know who will be lining up at the World Cup next November.

Read more: The teams who have already qualified for the World Cup in Qatar

And the end of this stage of qualifying means the next edition of the Nations League is drawing ever closer.

We have put everything you need to know about the popular UEFA tournament all in one place.

Read more: When is the Nations League draw? Everything you need to know
All you need to know about the Nations League is included in our helpful guide
All you need to know about the Nations League is included in our helpful guide

Before you go

Aston Villa have swooped to hire Steven Gerrard as their new head coach.

We have all the details on the Liverpool legend's appointment, as he leaves defending Scottish champions Rangers.

Read more: Villa appoint Liverpool legend Gerrard as boss

The fact we are in an international break does stop the transfer rumour mill from churning too.

Check out the latest gossip from the world of club football in our daily column.

Read more: Transfer Talk — United ponder Pogba pay rise

Tags

EnglandWorld CupEmile Smith RoweIrelandPortugalJoao CanceloUEFA Nations League

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