It has been a disastrous Nations League campaign for England and Gareth Southgate’s men will be relegated from the top tier on Friday if they are beaten by Euro 2020 foes Italy in Milan.
Two points from four games has left England in the relegation spot in Group 3, three points adrift of Italy and still with Germany to come later this week, so anything but three points could prove fatal to their hopes of remaining in the group.
Here’s how Southgate could set up.
GK: Aaron Ramsdale – Nick Pope is banging on the door but Ramsdale is likely to get the nod again here.
RB: Reece James – Trent Alexander-Arnold’s inauspicious start to the season has done Southgate a favour when it comes to selecting a starting right-back.
CB: Fikayo Tomori – It’s impossible to keep ignoring Tomori, who knows more about his upcoming opponents than any of his teammates.
CB: Harry Maguire – Having lost his spot at club level, Maguire absolutely shouldn’t be starting here, but Southgate has previously kept faith with his favoured defender and is unlikely to change that tune just yet.
LB: Kieran Trippier – The best way to get another right-back in the squad. Southgate loves a right-back.
DM: Declan Rice – Another of those who hasn’t hit his lofty heights yet this year, Rice’s experience could be crucial in an injury hit midfield.
DM: Jude Bellingham – Kalvin Phillips has withdrawn and Jordan Henderson is clearly not ready to start this one, meaning Southgate has very few options left. Fortunately, the one he does just so happens to be one of the best young midfielders on the planet.
RM: Bukayo Saka – Four assists and a goal in his last four games, Saka has responded to criticism from the early weeks of the season.
AM: Mason Mount – Southgate is an enormous fan of Mount’s energy and is likely to deploy him in this 10 role once again.
LM: Raheem Sterling – Chelsea teammate Sterling will play in a more-advanced role than the wing-back spot he took up in Graham Potter’s debut.
ST: Harry Kane – Ivan Toney is finally in the England squad but pushing himself ahead of Kane in the pecking order is an entirely different battle.