England will travel to the city of Rijeka to face Croatia on Friday evening, where the two sides will attempt to win their first points in the brand new UEFA Nations League.
Both suffered defeats to Spain in their opening games – England going down to 2-1 at Wembley whilst World Cup finalists Croatia were battered 6-0. Friday’s meeting will also represent the two nations first clash since locking horns in the World Cup semi-final three months ago, where Croatia ran out 2-1 winners after extra time.
The game will be played behind closed doors with Croatia punished by UEFA after a Nazi swastika was marked on their pitch before a Euro 2016 qualifying match against Italy – though a number of England fans are still expected to travel.
It’s likely to be a closely contested match, with England boasting some fresh quality and new faces in their squad – here’s a look at how the Three Lions could line up..
1. Goalkeeper & Defenders
Jordan Pickford (GK) – Fulham’s Marcus Bettinelli is among three keepers challenging for England’s number one jersey, however, Jordan Pickford is expected to retain his place between the posts.
Kieran Trippier (RWB) – The Spurs full-back has been inspired for the Three Lions in recent months, and has proven himself to be a firm favourite for both club and country due to his consistent form..
Kyle Walker (RCB) – With manager Gareth Southgate preferring a 3-4-3 formation, Walker is likely to be accommodated once more in a centre-back trio, where his pace will be of extreme help on the cover.
John Stones (CB) – He may not play for his City side in every match but Stones has established himself as a regular for his country, and will be one of the first names on Gareth Southgate’s team sheet.
Harry Maguire (LCB) – Another man who’s national reputation seems to be growing with each game he plays. Maguire has been a reliable option for Southgate so far and the Leicester City man should keep his place in the team against Croatia.
Ben Chilwell (LWB) – With Luke Shaw and Danny Rose both withdrawing from the squad through injury, all eyes will be on Leicester star Ben Chilwell to fill the void on his senior international debut.
Eric Dier (DM) – A goal in his last outing for Tottenham Hotspur will have Dier feeling more confident in his current form – as a result, Southgate is likely to hand him the task of keeping Croatia’s dangerous attacking midfielders quiet.
Jordan Henderson (DM) – An established England regular, there will be no surprises if Liverpool captain Henderson starts alongside Dier on Friday – with his experience sure to provide stability against the likes of Modric, Rakitic and Brozovic.
Raheem Sterling (RW) – Having scoured four goals in the Premier League already, Raheem Sterling is very much a man in-form. Southgate could rely on the winger’s pace and dribbling ability to give Croatia’s defenders a busy Friday evening.
Harry Kane (CF) – England’s captain and World Cup Golden Boot winner, Harry Kane is always on the prowl for goals. This game will be no different, with the Spurs striker keen to sharpen his skills once more ahead of a return to domestic action.
Marcus Rashford (LW) – Rewarding players for their form is something Southgate is a firm believer of, so Marcus Rashford can expect to start at left-wing in this match following two goals in England’s two previous fixtures.