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 debut in a back four against Iran, with Gareth Southgate playing in a 4-3-3 formation.

Southgate’s line-up change means there is room for an extra midfielder in the starting line-up, with Jude Bellingham likely to make his World Cup debut.

Reports elsewhere suggest that Bokaio Saka will outshine Phil Foden on the right wing.

Jamie Carragher says Jude Bellingham is at his best as an attacking No.8
Jude Bellingham is set to make his World Cup debut for England

Maguire’s presence is controversial given he has only made one Premier League start since September, but the Manchester United defender has been an integral part of England’s last two major tournaments.

The 29-year-old played a key role in the Three Lions’ 2018 World Cup semi-final and was subsequently named in the team of the tournament as England finished as runners-up at Euro 2020.

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Former Manchester United captain Patrice Evra and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola gave their views ahead of the Qatar World Cup while attending the Abu Dhabi GP on Sunday.

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But Bellingham’s start is less controversial with the 19-year-old enjoying a superb season at Borussia Dortmund with nine goals in 22 appearances in all competitions this term.

Madison and Walker left the Iran game

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England manager Gareth Southgate has given an injury update to his World Cup squad against Iran, confirming they will kneel as a “strong statement”.

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

Walker is still recovering from groin surgery, while Maddison is yet to train since arriving in Qatar after recovering from a knee problem.

“Kyle Walker is a bit short for this game but he’s progressing really well. We’re further ahead of where we thought he might be at this stage,” Southgate said at his news 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 supporters a tournament to remember. We’ve taken them on some great journeys in their lives.

“Our country also has a tough spell – not like some other countries around the world.

But we are in a recession and life has been difficult for many of our people, so we want them to enjoy their football and have a journey with our team that brings real joy.

England kneels before the Iran match

Harry Kane knelt on the eve of England's match with Hungary in the Nations League
England players will kneel before the opening of the World Cup with Iran

Southgate has confirmed that England will kneel before their World Cup opener against Iran.

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England made a gesture against racism and inequality for 33 consecutive games when football returned from the Covid-19 shutdown.

England did not kneel at the September games, but they will do so in Monday’s Group B game and then at the World Cup.

“We’ve talked about kneeling,” Southgate said. “We feel we should. That’s what we stand for as a team and have done for a long time.

Of course, we in the Premier League know that clubs have decided to do this only for special games and big occasions, we feel this is the biggest game.

We think it’s a strong statement to specifically reach out to young people around the world to see that inclusivity is so important.

Before the start of this season, the captains of the Premier League decided to use special moments to kneel instead of posing in every match.

The teams agreed to do this exclusively before the opening round There is no place for racism Matches in October and March, on Boxing Day and the final round, as well as FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals.


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