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How England Should Line Up At The 2022 FIFA World Cup?

England squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup
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The FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar is just weeks away, and in the build-up to the tournament, we will be taking an in-depth look at each of the contenders looking to get their hands on the biggest prize in football. The first team on our radar is England, the current European runners-up and fifth highest-ranked side in the world according to FIFA.

How England should line up at the 2022 FIFA World Cup

England have had a dream run under Gareth Southgate over the past few years, reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia before falling just a penalty shootout away from winning their first major trophy since 1966 at Euro 2020. However, that bubble burst in 2022, with England enduring a dismal UEFA Nations League campaign and failing to win each of their last six games.

Gareth Southgate has come under wide criticism for his defensive style and archaic tactics, with the Englishman’s insistence on using a 3-4-3/3-5-2 formation holding back a lot of the free-flowing attacking players at England’s disposal. Despite the outside noise, Southgate will continue to use this three-at-back formation at this World Cup. Hence, for this preview, we will stick to this set-up for our possible England line-up at the tournament, looking at the players best-suited to this system.

Here is how we think England should line up at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar:

England possible line up at the 2022 FIFA World Cup

In between the sticks, Jordan Pickford has done almost nothing wrong as England’s number one. But Aaron Ramsdale is the best English goalkeeper with the ball at his feet and should start at the World Cup in Qatar 2022 if Southgate’s instruction is to play the ball out the back. 

In the back three, England should go with their three best central defenders, which currently include Ben White, John Stones and Harry Maguire. Stones picks himself due to his experience and ability, while White replaces a lot of the qualities offered by Kyle Walker in this role, with his ability to defend in wide spaces and running power. Maguire is a trickier decision, but the Manchester United man has experience at the highest level, is valuable on set pieces, and is one of the few English defenders capable of playing on the left of a back three.

The two wingbacks pick themselves purely based on the process of elimination due to injuries to others, with Kieran Trippier and Luke Shaw getting the nod in Qatar.

In the middle of the park, the English pair of Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham are a shoo-in. Despite their young age, Rice and Bellingham have plenty of experience at the highest level. Although neither is an elite passer you would want to control games at the World Cup, they offer plenty in terms of ball-carrying and defensive solidity to be England’s first-choice midfield in Qatar 2022.

In the front three, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling are sure-fire starters, given their pedigree and international exploits for Gareth Southgate’s side. Joining them on the right should be Bukayo Saka, England’s player of the year for 2021/22. The Arsenal star is the best natural right-winger in the England set-up and offers more directness and purpose to the English attack from the wings than Phil Foden. Saka and Sterling’s ability to stretch the play vertically also helps bring out the best in Harry Kane, who is at his best when allowed to drop deep as a number ten and feed the wide players.

While playing a 4-3-3 would allow England to fit one of Foden or Mount into the XI to offer more attacking impetus, Gareth Southgate seems to prefer defensive stability and solidity over attacking flair and control with the ball. The level of talent in the starting XI and the squad should be enough to get England into the latter stages of the FIFA World Cup 2022, but for football to come home this winter, Southgate has to give his players the best chance of succeeding on the pitch.


[Featured Image Credit: England Football Team]