England World Cup 2018 Team Guide: Strengths, Weaknesses, Tactics, Squad

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(Getty Images)

Head coach Gareth Southgate has previous experience of working with the England under-21s a few years back, and will be looking to use the popularity with the younger players to help bridge the gap between the veterans. England are by far underdogs to lift the World Cup come mid July, but the lack of pressure may just be what the Three Lions need to spur a surprise or two.

Strengths

This England squad has an embarrassment of riches in attack, so much so, that promising winger cum forward Marcus Rashford, will struggle to get game time if everyone remains fit.

Spurs striker Harry Kane has been at the top of his form and will lead the line for the Three Lions with Leicester’s hard-working forward Jamie Vardy serving as his deputy. His teammate Dele Alli will also play a pivotal role in the final third for England.

Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard are two more names that have terrorised defences in the Premier League this past season. If Southgate can bring the most out of these four players, England could go a long way in the competition.

Weaknesses

The biggest weakness in this England side will be the lack of leadership at the heart of their defence. Teams of yesteryears have all had a commanding and no-nonsense type of defender that would organise the team. This unit certainly lacks such a player and is also bereft of a solid world-class central defender.

Playing Kyle Walker – a right back for his entire career – as a centre-back could prove to be costly for Southgate if he does not get his tactics spot on. Also, with no World Cup experience in goal, the keepers could be extremely nervy going into their first game in Russia.

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Tactics

Southgate has dumped his four-man defence to play a relatively new style for the national team with a back three. Whether or not it will be a 3-4-3 or a hybrid of a 3-5-2, it is clear that the former Middlesbrough manager wants an assured defence with wing-backs providing the width.

With an abundance of hard-working and creative players in midfield, there still is not a single player that can both dictate play as well as be an enforcer to shield the defence. Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson perform either of the two roles, and their selection could hinge on the team the Three Lions are up against.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley).

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United).

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea).

Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)

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