Gareth Southgate takes his England players to Albania on Sunday evening to continue their World Cup qualification campaign in Group I.
Like England, the hosts got off to a winning start and sit second in the group, after beating Andorra 1-0 on Thursday night. The Eagles, however, have never qualified for a World Cup and face a tough challenge to get past the likes of Poland and Hungary in the group.
The favourites are, of course, England who have won all four previous meetings with Albania by an aggregate score of 12-1. The Three Lions are also fresh from kicking off their World Cup campaign with a 5-0 victory over San Marino at Wembley and, although Albania represent a sterner test, look on course to continue their excellent qualification record on Sunday.
Let’s have a look at who should start for Southgate’s side…
Nick Pope (GK) – Five caps, five clean sheets. The Burnley man has made the most of his opportunities so far and, with Jordan Pickford out, should be in line to start.
Reece James (RB) – Provided Southgate continues with four at the back, it should be a conventional right back role for James, who showed his worth with an assist last time out.
John Stones (CB) – Deservedly back in the frame and, with his Manchester City form behind him, is the number one choice to partner Maguire at the back.
Harry Maguire (CB) – Has been Southgate’s preferred choice on the left of the heart of defence and you’d think that good domestic form would see him through to this summer’s Euros.
Luke Shaw (LB) – Ben Chilwell started and assisted against San Marino but Shaw deserves the opportunity as much as anyone and can influence proceedings at both ends.
Declan Rice (DM) – With Jordan Henderson out injured, Rice is the most senior option at the base of midfield with 13 caps.
Mason Mount (CM) – Famously a favourite of the England boss and, as we have seen, with good reason. His creativity and ingenuity can really impact a match.
Jude Bellingham (CM) – An impressive second half cameo against San Marino should be enough to secure the 17-year-old a first start for the Three Lions, although James Ward-Prowse is equally deserving.
Raheem Sterling (RW) – Taken off at half time last time out after scoring his 150th career goal. The winger is the most capped player in the squad and should earn his 60th cap on Sunday.
Harry Kane (ST) – Rested on Wednesday but will certainly be back in action for the trip to Albania, looking to add to his 32 goals in just 51 England appearances.
Phil Foden (LW) – With Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka out of action, Foden seems the favourite to start on the left after assisting Ollie Watkins’ first England goal on Wednesday.