England vs Iran: Harry Maguire to start in World Cup opener as Gareth Southgate set to play 4-3-3 | Football News

Harry Maguire will start England’s World Cup campaign in the back four against Iran while Gareth Southgate will play 4-3-3.

Southgate’s replacement means there is room for another midfielder in the XI, with Jude Bellingham likely to make his first World Cup start.

Reports elsewhere suggest that Bukayo Saka will be promoted ahead of Phil Foden on the right wing.

Jude Bellingham is at his best as a No 8 striker, says Jamie Carragher
Jude Bellingham is set to make his first World Cup start for England

Maguire’s inclusion is controversial considering he has only started one Premier League game since September but the Manchester United defender has been an integral part of England’s last two league titles.

The 29-year-old starred in three 2018 World Cups and was named in the same tournament after England qualified for Euro 2020.

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While at the Abu Dhabi GP on Sunday, former Manchester United boss Patrice Evra and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola give their thoughts ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.

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But Bellingham’s start has had little controversy and the 19-year-old is enjoying an exceptional season at Borussia Dortmund with nine goals in 22 games in all competitions.

Maddison, Walker out of Iran match

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England manager Gareth Southgate has given an injury update on the squad to face Iran at the World Cup and revealed they will be kneeling as a ‘difficult matter’.

James Maddison and Kyle Walker will miss England’s win at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

Walker is still recovering from hip surgery, while Maddison has not trained since arriving in Qatar after picking up a knee problem.

“Kyle Walker is a bit short for this game but he’s progressing well. We’re ahead of where we think he can be at the moment,” Southgate said in his press conference on Sunday.

“James hasn’t been able to train since we arrived, so he won’t be able to play tomorrow.”

Southgate continued: “Our challenge is to give our fans an unforgettable experience. We have taken them on an amazing journey in our lives and in the competition.

“Our country is also going through a difficult crisis – it is not the same as some other countries around the world.

“But we are in an economic downturn and life has been difficult for many of us so we want them to enjoy their football and travel with our team to bring true happiness.”

England will kneel before Iran opens

Harry Kane kneels ahead of England's League One match with Hungary
England players will kneel before their World Cup opener against Iran

England will kneel before their World Cup qualifier against Iran, Southgate has announced.

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England made the move against racism and inequality in 33 straight games when football returned after the Covid-19 shutdown.

England are yet to bow out of September’s competition but will make the show in Monday’s Group B opener and through to the World Cup.

“We have discussed the knee,” Southgate said. “We think we should. It’s something we’ve supported as a team and done for a long time.

“Of course, we understand that the Premier League and clubs have decided to do that only for certain games, big time, we think this is the biggest.

“We think it’s a strong statement to go around the world for young people in particular to see that inclusivity is very important.”

The Premier League leaders decided before the start of this season to take a knee instead of making the move in every game.

The group agreed to do the act before the opening round, dedicated ‘No home for racism’ matches in October and March, on Boxing Day and the finals, as well as the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals.


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