‘Leaked’ England starting XI for World Cup opener with Iran as ex-Sheffield United star set to start

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A look at the likely England line-up to face Iran in the Three Lions’ 2022 FIFA World Cup opener.

England kick off their 2022 FIFA World Cup against Iran on Monday afternoon.

The Three Lions will be looking to get off to a strong start in their group campaign, with USA and Wales still to play. This could be a tricky group for the Three Lions, with all three teams involved currently in the FIFA rankings top 20, and a good start will be key to establishing some momentum heading into the clash with USA.

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Gareth Southgate has some big decisions to make for his starting line-up, though two are already out of his hands due to injuries. Both James Maddison and Kyle Walker are sidelined having come into the tournament with fitness issues, set to return in time for the USA clash.

“Kyle Walker is a little bit short for this game but is progressing really well,” Southgate told BBC FiveLive. “We are ahead of where we thought he might be at this point. “James [Maddison] hasn’t been able to train since we arrived so he will not be able to make the game tomorrow.”

According to the latest report from The Guardian, Southgate has wrestled over his formation over the last week or so, but he has decided upon a 4-3-3, which could look more like a 4-2-1-3 in possession, with Mason Mount playing in a more attacking role in midfield. Bukayo Saka is said to have beaten Phil Foden for a spot in the front three, with Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane also starting.

Sheffield United academy graduate and current Manchester United star Harry Maguire is set to start at centre-back, alongside John Stones, holding Ben White at bay. There was criticism of Maguire’s selection by some due to his lack of involvement at club level this season, but he made the cut, and it seems he will be trusted to start the opening game.

Here is the full ‘leaked’ England XI.

(4-3-3) - Pickford; Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Bellingham, Mount; Sterling, Saka, Kane.

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