England continue their early preparations for the 2022 World Cup when they host Ivory Coast at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night.
This is the Three Lions’ second friendly of the March international break following the slightly underwhelming 2-1 comeback victory over Switzerland on Saturday.
Manager Gareth Southgate will be hoping for a much-improved performance when his side take on African federation opposition for the first time since June 2018.
Southgate has already revealed he plans to ring the changes for this one, saying: “We’ll make changes. We think that’s the right thing to do. We want to keep all of the squad involved. I think that has been a strength for us. Players who come in perform well at the level and the team march on.”
With that in mind, here’s the lineup he could deploy against Ivory Coast…
Nick Pope (GK) – Could be afforded a chance from the start after Jordan Pickford threw down the gauntlet against the Swiss with a fine display.
Kyle Walker-Peters (RB) – England are pretty short in the full-back areas following a raft of injuries, so Walker-Peters should be in line for back-to-back starts.
Harry Maguire (CB) – Maguire will look to put his wobbly club form behind him on the international stage. Didn’t feature against Switzerland so will be fresh.
Tyrone Mings (CB) – Southgate’s go-to left-footed centre-back should be on hand to fill in on that side here in a back-four system.
Tyrick Mitchell (LB) – A full debut for the Crystal Palace youngster, who could well be up against clubmate Wilfried Zaha.
James Ward-Prowse (CM) – The Southampton skipper should be involved from the start here having been left on the bench on Saturday. Added height at the back will make his set pieces a threat.
Declan Rice (CM) – Made a real difference off the bench at the weekend and is expected to become one of his country’s most important players in the build-up to the World Cup.
Jude Bellingham (AM) – Despite his importance to Borussia Dortmund at club level, Bellingham has been used sparingly by Southgate. This represents a good opportunity for this huge talent to show what he can do in an England shirt.
Raheem Sterling (RW) – Already of the most senior members of the squad, Sterling will hope to continue to lead by example from the start against the Ivorians.
Harry Kane (ST) – England don’t have many other options up top, and after he surpassed Gary Lineker and moved level with Bobby Charlton in England’s all-time top goalscorer charts with his match-winning penalty on Saturday, Kane will have Wayne Rooney in his sights.
Jack Grealish (LW) – Southgate’s squad is a little light in the wide areas, and with Emile Smith Rowe doubtful it would be logical for Grealish to play from the start here.