Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher believes there are up to four places up for grabs in the English starting XI for the Three Lions World Cup opener in Qatar and the next two fixtures will be crucial in deciding who will fill them.
The former England international, who has won 38 caps, believes the next UEFA Nations League fixtures, which start tonight when the Three Lions take on Italy in Milan, before facing Germany on Monday, will be ” massive” to decide who gets on the plane.
England meet Iran on November 21 at the Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan, but with the World Cup falling right in the middle of the European season there will be no time for warm-up matches after those two intriguing encounters.
Luke Shaw is under pressure to keep his place in England at the World Cup while manager Gareth Southgate has trusted Harry Maguire
And yet, following injuries and poor form, England manager Gareth Southgate has question marks over the defense and midfield, which propelled his side to the Euro 2020 final a while ago. only 14 months.
“These are hugely important games for Gareth Southgate thinking about what his team will be at this World Cup,” Carragher said. sports mail. ‘No warm-up matches [this time]so it’s a strange season.
“I think Southgate will know the seven or eight players who will start in this first game and there will be two or three positions up for grabs and it’s up to the players to grab them.”
“I think the centre-back is going to be interesting, the left-back as well and just the fact that Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw haven’t played a huge amount of football for Manchester United.
Gareth Southgate will use points against Italy and Germany to make key decisions
“I don’t think we have great cover at centre-back, or we haven’t for the last two years, and at left-back Kieran Trippier has played there, which is a right-footed player, which is never easy. I think these two areas [will be interesting].’
Maguire, who established himself as John Stones’ first-choice partner at Euro 2020, has retained Southgate’s confidence despite his struggles at Manchester United.
After including the struggling centre-back in the squad, Southgate are set to play him, and the way Maguire faces just two Premier League starts to his name this season will likely be critical as competition grows.
AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori is also in the squad after his impressive form in Italy helped his club win the Serie A title last season, in-form Spurs defender Eric Dier is back in the fold and ever-present understudy Conor Coady is also in good form for Everton.
Jamie Carragher thinks up to four places in the World Cup starting XI are up for grabs
At left-back, United’s Luke Shaw and Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell clash. Shaw has not played in the Premier League since August 13, when he was hung at half-time in the 4-0 loss at Brentford. He lost his place to Tyrell Malacia in Erik Ten Hag’s reset at Old Trafford, while Chilwell is still battling to recover after a cruciate ligament injury forced him to miss most of last season.
Yesterday former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson suggested neither should be chosen for the World Cup opener in England, instead opting for Trippier to fill in the left side again and in an interesting selection, he placed Kyle Walker at centre-back alongside Stones. .
Carragher believes there is also uncertainty in central midfield, where fellow Euro 2020 stalwart Kalvin Phillips was forced out of that squad due to a long-standing shoulder injury .
Declan Rice is believed to have carved out a place for himself in midfield despite declining form this season
Kalvin Phillips has struggled for time at Manchester City after a string of injuries
Phillips, alongside Declan Rice, has provided an anchor for Southgate sides in recent years, but his injuries and lack of game time at Manchester City mean he is now in a race against time to get on the plane for Qatar.
Rice suffered a decline in form after a long period of consistent excellence and Jordan Henderson is recovering from a hamstring injury, but joined the team after Phillips left. Meanwhile, Birmingham City academy graduate and Borussia Dortmund ubiquitous Jude Bellingham is always pushing to make a name for himself at international level.
“Yeah, we have some quality in there in terms of [Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips]Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham, but you wouldn’t want to end up with Declan Rice and just Bellingham, who is obviously very inexperienced at this level,” added Carragher.
And Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse will also be looking to claim a claim in the next two matches.
Left-back Ben Chilwell tries to recover at Chelsea after a long absence
One option, favored by former England, Liverpool and Real Madrid winger Steve McManaman, is to do without two midfield players, reducing the pressure on that department and on Bellingham too for the World Cup.
“If England are playing five at the back, I don’t think they necessarily need two sitting midfielders,” McManaman said. sports mail.
“The five defenders at the Euros were five defenders, they weren’t three defenders and two forwards, they were five defenders.
“Having five defenders and Declan Rice in the middle… I think that’s more than enough and then you can put more forwards on the pitch.
“You would expect Declan to be in midfield for sure, Jude is a wonderful player, he’s still just a young player, learning his trade.”
“Of course he gets a lot of applause, you just need to have a little patience. He’s a wonderful player; he’s going to be a super star but I don’t like to put too much baggage on young players.
“He’s going to be great, but at the moment if Gareth wants to play five at the back and he has five defenders and Declan Rice, you might as well fill the other places with midfielders and attacking forwards. “
*Jamie Carragher and Steve McManaman spoke to Sportsmail at the Football for Change 2022 gala. The charity, chaired by Carragher, raises funds to support young people in deprived areas.
Jamie Carragher brings together the great and the good for the Football for Change gala, raising £350,000
Jamie Carragher, Steve McManaman, Michael Carrick and a host of football stars and celebrities joined forces to raise £292,000 at a charity gala in aid of young people last night.
Cashless prizes went under the hammer at the Football for Change 2022 gala, held in Manchester on Thursday, which was backed by Mail Online.
As well as the auction, the big and the good have also made generous donations which are expected to bring the total raised closer to £350,000, which will support young people in deprived areas, who are struggling to access education and to work.
Carragher, the chairman of Football for Change, had raided his contact book to bring back prizes and guests. The top prize was a VIP trip to the United States, to meet David Beckham and his team at Inter Miami. There was a breakfast with Everton boss Frank Lampard, which sold for £6,000 and a behind-the-scenes experience at BT Sport, with Steve McManaman, which cost £10,000.
A VIP backstage pass at Glastonbury Festival to meet Noel Gallagher, who performed with his band High-Flying Birds on the night, brought in £25,000, and one of the legend’s signature guitars ‘Oasis cost £30,000.
Noel Gallagher’s guitar was auctioned off at the Football for Change gala for £30,000
“It’s a wonderful event,” said McManaman, the former Liverpool, Real Madrid and England winger and now a BT Sport pundit. sports mail. ‘It’s a fantastic. It’s so busy. It’s really good, even though the title is Football for Change, the number of people who came from different activities is really nice to see.
The charity, which is backed by Conor Coady and Trent Alexander-Arnold, among others, is already funding a life-changing project for 40 young people, who traveled to the United States for a sports and education program, a program training center for homeless youth, and a new youth education center in Bootle.
“It’s a fantastic event,” said former England and Manchester United midfielder and manager Carrick. “I’m passionate about helping young people, who aren’t as lucky as others and that’s amazing.
Coleen Rooney and TV presenter Vernon Kay attended the Football for Change gala
“You have to try to support events like this, it’s so important that we do that because times are getting tough for people, it’s important that we try to stick together and help people as much as we can. “
Across the country, 711,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 24 currently find themselves uneducated and jobless, with well-founded fears that the cost of living crisis and an economic downturn are about to make life even harder. hard.
Among 16-17 year olds, the most recent figure for so-called NEETs nationally is 64,720, of which 1,950 live in the Liverpool City area. Two hundred of these youngsters have been identified in Sefton, the area where Carragher grew up