England XI to play Senegal: Telegraph writers on who Gareth Southgate should start

Gareth Southgate, Head Coach of England, looks on during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and England at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium - The FA Collection
Gareth Southgate, Head Coach of England, looks on during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and England at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium - The FA Collection

England bounced back from an underwhelming draw against the USA to beat Wales 3-0 in their final World Cup group game and vault into a last 16 tie with Senegal.

Big contributions from recalled pair, Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden, were particular highlights while Gareth Southgate would also have been happy with the performances of Kyle Walker and Jordan Henderson.

The result has given the manager plenty of healthy selection dilemmas as the knockout phase of the World Cup begins but the added jeopardy means even more pressure on getting the big calls right.

Here’s how our writers would shape the England team on Sunday.

Jamie Carragher

I would stick with the same starting line-up. When Kyle Walker is fit, he starts. And it is important he gets more minutes in case England progress, building up his fitness. Jordan Henderson adds more solidity in midfield, which is important now we are in the knockout stage. The real dilemma is in the wide attacking areas. Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka have done nothing wrong, but the impact of Marcus Rashford - three goals in the tournament - cannot be ignored. And I have always wanted Phil Foden in the team.

Jason Burt

There is no doubt Gareth Southgate has big decisions to make. Does he stick with a back four or revert to a back three? Does he bring Mason Mount back into midfield? Jordan Henderson deserves to keep his place as he liberated Jude Bellingham and provided experience and leadership. In attack? That is where the really big choices lie. Does Southgate retain Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden and leave out Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling? Keeping the same XI did not work against the United States after the 6-2 win over Iran but it makes sense to do so after the victory against Wales. Southgate certainly has options.

Jeremy Wilson

If this tournament is telling us anything, it is that we should not get too hung up on Gareth Southgate's starting team, especially in the offensive positions. The five substitutes provides the opportunity to make changes and vary the challenges that are posed to defences and it might well be that Raheem Sterling or Bukayo Saka still star in this match after starting on the bench. It could even help their chances of this. Marcus Rashford, though, has a priceless asset and that is the ability to run at defenders and he seems to be entering some of the best form of his life. Mason Mount can easily also push forward and change this into more of a 4-3-3 system while Kieran Trippier's match fitness gives the edge over Kyle Walker.

Chris Bascombe

Same again. Rashford is now a contender for the golden boot so it is impossible to leave him out. It is a toss-up between Saka returning and Foden keeping his place. Whoever starts, the other is sure to be on his toes ready to make an impact in the second half. That’s the luxury Southgate has. Jordan Henderson demonstrated his leadership qualities against Wales. Tactically, he complements Bellingham and Rice.

Sam Dean

Raheem Sterling out, Marcus Rashford in. Sterling is the better ball-carrier and contributes more in all-round play, but Rashford showed against Wales that he provides more of a threat in behind. Although he missed his first-half chance, his darting run into space was an example of what he offers. It was the sort of movement that Sterling does not make often enough. Phil Foden remains on the bench as an impact substitute, along with Jack Grealish. Let Bukayo Saka run at the Senegal defence for an hour, then throw Foden into the action as they are tiring.

Luke Edwards

There is a growing case for Callum Wilson to come in for Harry Kane, but what the England captain is not providing in a goal threat for himself he is making up for creating chances for others. And, let’s face it, Southgate is never going to drop him unless he literally is not fit enough to walk on to the pitch.

Rashford grabbed the headlines but Phil Foden was the real difference maker in the England performance. Both, though, have done enough to hold on to their places in the starting XI ahead of Sterling and Saka.

Having initially rolled my eyes at the return of Jordan Henderson to the midfield, the three actually had a far better balance to it. There is a reason the Liverpool captain has been so integral to his club’s success and Bellingham has more freedom to play with the veteran alongside him.

John Percy

Wales didn't create any threatening moments on Tuesday so it is difficult to judge whether changes have to be made, yet surely England's starting XI deserves to face Senegal. The return of Kyle Walker was a sensible decision, with the pace and direct running of Senegal and - possibly - France lying in wait. Harry Kane will have benefited from coming off early, while the abundance of options on the bench means Gareth Southgate can react to problems.

Jim White

Led by Everton's Idrissa Gana Gueye, Senegal are energetic and aggressive in midfield, so it might be wise for England to start with a three including Jordan Henderson. His guile and leadership could be crucial. And Marcus Rashford must stay in the team. With Harry Kane not yet firing, his goal threat is crucial. And while Senegal are strong at the heart of their defence (Koulibaly is magnificent), their full backs are less solid. So I'd start with Bukayo Saka wide on the right.

Mike McGrath

Jordan Henderson's selection against Wales was perfect for the situation, adding calm in central midfield and allowing England to dominate possession but against Senegal they can add pace to their forward line by drafting in Raheem Sterling. It would require Jude Bellingham to play a little deeper alongside Declan Rice, who has been outstanding in his role so far at the World Cup. But adding Sterling to Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden would be a huge threat. They would nominally start in the attacking positions of a 4-2-3-1 but would swap positions throughout the last-16 tie.

Have your say

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