LiveScore’s England starting XI for the 2022 World Cup

Matthew Hill
LiveScore
We put ourselves in Gareth Southgate's shoes for the first game of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar
We put ourselves in Gareth Southgate's shoes for the first game of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

England booked their spot at the 2022 World Cup on Monday night by brushing aside San Marino 10-0 — and now all eyes are on Qatar.

Having reached a semi-final and final in their last two major tournaments, the Three Lions will arrive in the Middle East next winter as one of the favourites for glory.

But with 12 months of action still to unfold before the tournament begins, Gareth Southgate has some difficult decisions to make. 

Which members of his talented squad will be in the side for England’s opening group game? 

Read on as we select our XI to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford

Aaron Ramsdale’s fine start to life at Arsenal has led many to speculate he could be England’s first-choice stopper in Qatar — but it will take something spectacular to dislodge Jordan Pickford.

The Everton keeper, 27, has always had his fair share of doubters but has amassed a wealth of international tournament experience in recent years. 

Right-back: Kyle Walker

While there will be times when the attacking brilliance of Reece James and Trent Alexander-Arnold are tantalising weapons, Kyle Walker provides a level of solidity that often proves vital in tournament football.

Frequently turned to by Southgate for England’s tougher assignments, the Manchester City star offers an offensive threat on the flank while also understanding the need to prioritise his defensive duties.

Centre-back: John Stones

John Stones has remained a nailed-on starter for England
John Stones has remained a nailed-on starter for England

John Stones’ performances alongside Harry Maguire were key to England only conceding two goals in seven Euro 2020 matches during the summer.

Though his game time at Manchester City has been limited this term, the 27-year-old centre-back has proven himself time and time again for the Three Lions. 

Centre-back: Harry Maguire

In a similar vein to Stones, Maguire has had a far from ideal time at club level recently but the Manchester United captain always seems to save his best for England. 

Closing in on 50 caps, four goals in his last seven appearances for the Three Lions show the Sheffield-born star is particularly well suited to Southgate’s style of play.

Left-back: Luke Shaw

Having earned his first senior cap back in 2014, it is hard to believe Luke Shaw has only made 19 appearances for his country.

Problems with fitness and injuries have limited the left-back’s involvement over the years.

But his performances at Euro 2020, where he supplied three assists and netted in the final, saw the 26-year-old Manchester United man receive global acclaim.  

Central midfield: Declan Rice

Arguably the first name on the team sheet these days, West Ham golden boy Declan Rice made the world sit up and take notice with a string of breathtaking performances at Euro 2020.

Technically gifted with a seemingly endless reserve of energy, the 22-year-old star is already up there with the best midfielders on the planet and looks every inch a future England captain.

Central midfield: Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice could be England's central midfield pairing for years to come
Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice could be England's central midfield pairing for years to come

While Kalvin Phillips has proven himself an able partner for Rice in England’s engine room, there may be an even more exciting option emerging in the form of 18-year-old Jude Bellingham.

The Birmingham youth product swapped Brum for Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2020 and is already a key player for the Bundesliga giants. 

A continuation of his current form could make him impossible for Southgate to overlook.

Right midfield: Raheem Sterling

With a plethora of attacking options at his disposal, Southgate may opt to hand starting berths to younger stars in Qatar — but Raheem Sterling’s efforts in an England shirt make him a hard man to drop.

One of the most experienced members of the current squad, the Manchester City star netted three goals in England’s run to the Euro 2020 final and featured in the UEFA Team of the Tournament. 

Attacking midfield: Mason Mount

Though it can be hard to keep a clear structure in such a fluid attacking unit, Chelsea star Mason Mount is someone who can provide a creative touch as well as covering the hard yards.

The Blues academy product, 22, operates centrally or off either flank and boasts defensive discipline and tactical awareness beyond his years.

He also regularly chips in with goals and assists — making him a dream option for any manager.

Left midfield: Phil Foden

Gareth Southgate must find a way to start Phil Foden in Qatar
Gareth Southgate must find a way to start Phil Foden in Qatar

Any academy player who forces their way into Manchester City’s first team must be an exceptional talent — and Phil Foden is certainly living up to that billing for club and country.

Now one of Pep Guardiola’s most trusted starters at the Etihad, Foden’s versatility, intelligence and downright outrageous levels of ability mean Southgate simply must find a spot for him in his XI in Qatar.

Centre forward: Harry Kane

Who Southgate selects as his lone striker is not up for debate.

Skipper Harry Kane is one of world football’s most reliable finishers and is already closing in on England’s all-time top goalscorer Wayne Rooney.

Despite his patchy form for Tottenham this season, he is already widely expected to star in Qatar.

Let us know your thoughts on our England XI on social media
Let us know your thoughts on our England XI on social media

Be sure to let us know what you think of our XI and who would make your team by tweeting @LiveScore.

Tags

EnglandWorld CupJordan PickfordKyle WalkerJohn StonesHarry MaguireLuke ShawDeclan RiceJude BellinghamRaheem SterlingMason MountPhil FodenHarry Kane
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