With withdrawals and injury worries rendering both Friday’s friendly with Germany and next week’s visit of Brazil an alarming miss-match, we’ll probably be watching through our fingers as preparation for the World Cup officially begins.
The imbalance is obvious with almost our entire attacking threat of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling out. Gary Cahill is now a huge doubt and Jordan Henderson – much maligned but a regular starter – won’t even be at Wembley.
So where does that leave us? Up the creek without a paddle for sure, but at least we’ll know one way or another if England have a Plan B or not.
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Here’s OUR team for Friday night’s visit of the world champions. It’s tin hat time, but if you don’t try things we won’t learn.
GK: Jack Butland
With Joe Hart unable to work out if he is world class or woeful, it’s time to give one of our up-and-comers a go. The Stoke keeper deserves his chance.
RWB: Kyle Walker
Toss up between the City defender and his Tottenham successor Kieran Trippier, and they’ll surely get a game each. Walker gets our nod for Germany.
CB: Phil Jones
We know he won’t become the high, high level player Sir Alex Ferguson predicted, but he’s had a steady season. England need his experience.
CB: John Stones
Along with Harry Kane, the closest thing England have to a world class player. Now showing why Manchester City broke the bank for him.
CB: Michael Keane
If Gary Cahill is, as feared, out of Friday’s game Keane should play and must play well if he does. Chance to nail down a place for Russia.
LWB: Danny Rose
Straight shoot out between Rose and Ryan Bertrand for the World Cup, but Rose is the better player. Needs England games to prove it now he’s back to full fitness.
CM: Eric Dier
Wants to England to play with a back three but a midfield crisis means he won’t be in it. Three Lions’ most important player over the next two games without any doubt.
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CM: Jake Livermore
A wildcard that, let’s face it, not many are wild about. He can shut us all up if he helps Gareth Southgate’s side to victory tomorrow.
AM: Ruben Loftus-Cheek
According to reports, he’s playing. Whether it’s too soon – and if a match against the world champions is throwing him in unfairly at the deep end – remains to be seen.
CF: Jamie Vardy
We need pace, and with the attacking players out we need two up front. Asking Vardy to be a straight replacement for Harry Kane is too much, so support is needed.
CF: Marcus Rashford
Why not let him loose on the shoulder of the German defenders? Let’s see how pure pace and energy works. We could just find that Plan B.