England : UEFA Nations League Preview

England take on the Netherland this Thursday Night at the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques Staduim –  Portugal  for a place in what would be England’s first final since 66.  This may not be the World Cup or the Euro’s however it’s still a reason to get excited and behind the team in their pursuit of lifting a trophy. There are selection dilemmas for England boss southgate to consider for the big match, Kane up front? Rashford? Sancho? Deli or Barkley and how many of players from Champions League Final to pick? I give my opinions below:      

Kane

I would start with him because although he is not fully fit he is a talisman and captain, has rescued England so many times in big matches and he will only get fitter the more game time he gets and if England get through to the final these minutues will have benefited him. Also the alternatives are not great, Rashford has immense talent but did not finish the season well for United therefore would be best used from the bench once Kane is tiring.

Sancho

For me he starts on the right wing with Sterling on the opposite side. Alternatives are limited again with the extremely unfortunate injuries to Hudson-Odi and Loftus Cheek who both were getting game time and form with Chelsea.  

Midfield  

Deli Ali and Ross Barkley are good competion for the more attacking midfield role and at this time I would go with Deli because he looked sharp in champions league final and Ross lost his starting place at Chelsea towards the end of season.  Id also play Henderson and Rice as the other 2 midfielders, yes Henderson played in the Champions League final but  5 days is long enough to celebrate and recover and should still be on a high adrenaline rush.

Defence

The main choice here are at full back with John Stones and Harry Maguire being a settled choice at the centre. At right back i’d go with Trent Alexander-Arnold for much the same reason as Henderson plus he is in fantastic form. Left back is tough to choose however Ben Chilwell probably just gets the nod due to Danny Rose’s champions league final disappointment, however well I thought he played in the match.  

Opponents

The Netherlands are on a resurgence following 2 disappointing qalyfying campaigns they got through a Nations League group containing France and Germany and there has also been an impressive friendly win over Portugal – who they could meet again in Sunday’s final. Their progress owes a lot to the new man in the dugout – Former Everton Manager Ronald Koeman, but also from the rising stars in defence and midfield to experienced campaigners like Daily Blind, Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay.  Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Donny van de Beek were instrumental in Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-finals and they have been similarly important at international level. De Jong, a £65m signing for Barcelona in January, has been particularly impressive.  At the back they have the world’s best defender Van Dijk and one of the most promising young defenders in De ligt so England have a tough task on there hands but one I belive they can pass.

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