Gareth Southgate committed to a three-man defence back in the autumn, tweaking the 4-2-3-1 system which had been successfully employed through a comfortable qualification campaign. The manager is now convinced a variation of 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 is the best way to eke performances and possession from his talented squad.

Three lions squad has players who can adapt to any formation, but if they play three at the back, it would mean just one defensive midfielder will make the cut in the 11. So, Eric Dier will be the preferred pick, meaning no place for Jordon Henderson and Rubin Loftus Cheek.

How will they line up


Jordon Pickford | GK

Having been given the number 1 jersey, Pickford will start ahead of Nick Pope and Jack Butland.

Danny Rose | LB

Having struggled with injuries, Rose still made the England squad and looks set to start at the World Cup.

John Stones | CB

2018 FIFA World Cup, FIFA World Cup 2018, England Football Team, Harry Kane
John Stones will play a key role in England defence (Photo: AFP)


England’s best ball playing defender, he will be a key at the heart of the defence.

Gary Cahill | CB

One of the most experienced players in the England squad, he will be tasked with bringing composure to the defence.

Kyle Walker | CB/RB

He has been one of the best right-backs in the Premier League over the last couple of seasons, but he has been employed as a centre-back in a 3-5-2 formation. If England do go for a four man defence, then he will start at right-back.

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Kevin Trippier | RB

Having been one of the best performers in the last season for Tottenham, he has worked himself into the England reckoning and now looks set to start at the World Cup.

Eric Dier | CDM

2018 FIFA World Cup, FIFA World Cup 2018, England Football Team, Eric Dier
Eric Dier will hold the deep midfield role (Photo: AFP)


He is the first choice, and is a sure shot starter at the base of the midfield.

Dele Alli | CAM

Ali will be an important player for the tree lions, and will be tasked with finding spaces and making those dangerous runs in the box.

Jesse Lingard | CAM

A player who has the nag for scoring some wonderful goals, Lingard will partner Ali in the the attacking midfield.

Raheem Sterling | FWD/ST

Raheem Sterling, England Football, 2018 FIFA World Cup, FIFA World Cup 2018,
Raheem Sterling will be key to England unlocking opposition defences (Photo: AFP)


He was outstanding for Manchester City last season, and finally showed his true potential. A pacy winger, who can take on defenders, he will be tasked with scoring and setting up goals.

Harry Kane | ST

Harry Kane, England Football, 2018 FIFA World Cup, FIFA World Cup 2018
England captain Harry Kane will lead the line (Photo: AFP)


England captain Harry Kane will be the most important player for England. He can score goals from nowhere and anywhere. He is lethal and loves scoring goals.


Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Maguire, Phil Jones, Jordan Henderson, Ashley Young, Fabian Delph, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Jack Butland, Nick Pope, Danny Welbeck.

They can even switch to a conventional 4-3-3, if need be.