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Qatar 2022: England’s reported XI for World Cup clash vs Iran

england national team manager
England get their 2022 World Cup campaign underway against Iran on Monday.

With the biggest competition in men’s football having already commenced with Ecuador’s 2-0 victory over Qatar, all attention now turns to whether or not the Three Lions can end 56 years of hurt by going all the way this winter.

And the question on everybody’s lips has been: how will Gareth Southgate line up his Euro 2020 finalists for the opening game?

There has, after all, been no shortage of debate surrounding whether or not Southgate should let go of the handbrake and play a more attacking brand of football than he’s nurtured throughout 2022.

And well, those banging the drum for England to lean into their attacking resources more could well be rubbing their hands together at the sight of fascinating intel on Southgate’s game plan.

How will England line up vs Iran?

That’s because The Sun dropped an exclusive report on Sunday night where they revealed key details about England’s plan for the Iran clash from which they could essentially present the entire XI.

The newspaper explained that the Three Lions will indeed be bypassing the five-at-the-back formation favoured in tougher games for what they brand as a “bold 4-3-3” approach.

It’s explained that “SunSport understands” Southgate will deploy nine of the 11 players who started the Euro 2020 final.

The report then reveals that Harry Maguire, who some fans argued shouldn’t even have been named in the squad, is set to start alongside John Stones in a centre-back pairing flanked by Luke Shaw at left-back and Kieran Trippier at right-back.

Unsurprisingly, Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham are set to form the base of the midfield three, which will then be rounded off by Mason Mount.

Raheem Sterling is rather confidently named as the man to inhabit the opposite flank, while – to the surprise of no one – captain Harry Kane will lead the line as a lone striker through the middle.

Jordan Pickford – again, unsurprisingly – will reprise his role as number one shot-stopper.

It’s explained that Bukayo Saka is the frontrunner to man the right wing, though this appears to be the position that The Sun is least confident about as they disclaim: “Phil Foden also in contention.”

However, the claim is given a lot of extra credence by the fact that the Telegraph also reported that Saka is set to be named from the start against Iran in favour of his compatriot from Manchester City.

Back to The Sun report, though, because let’s put all the information together to see how they think Southgate will set up his XI for England’s World Cup opener against Iran down below:

Even at Euro 2020, Southgate did play a back four on two occasions and it’s perhaps not surprising to learn that he’ll revert to that system given the nature and quality of the opposition.

Iran, who topped their AFC World Cup qualifying group, certainly shouldn’t be underestimated, but there’s no denying that England should be setting out to win the game comfortably if they have any ambitions of going far in Qatar this summer.

And with Carlos Queiroz predicted to posture his side to sit deep and maintain defensive solidity, it only makes sense that Southgate will be front-footed and try to put Iran under increased pressure.

With that in mind, it’s certainly promising to see that all roads appear to be leading to a more attacking XI where Saka, Sterling, Mount and Kane can all look to unpick the Iranian defence.

Fans will only know for sure how England will be going about the match when the official team sheets are revealed on Monday, but everything seems set for Southgate to start his second World Cup campaign as manager with a bang.

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