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Gareth Southgate Faces Important Decisions Ahead of England’s European Qualifiers

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England's key decisions

As England gears up for two crucial European qualifiers this month, manager Gareth Southgate finds himself contemplating several significant choices. With only 19 days passing since the conclusion of the Premier League season, England will first encounter Malta in Ta’ Qali on Friday, followed by a match against North Macedonia at Old Trafford three days later.

Currently leading their qualifying group as World Cup quarter-finalists and runners-up in the previous European Championship, England sits three points ahead of third-placed Macedonia. The top two teams from Group C will secure direct qualification to Euro 2024 in Germany.

With a comfortable lead established, Southgate now faces the dilemma of whether to play it safe or experiment with his squad. There are a few key decisions that he needs to make:

  1. Eberechi Eze’s inclusion in the England squad: Crystal Palace midfielder Eberechi Eze has been called up to the national team for the first time. Following an impressive end to the season, where he scored six goals in his last eight Premier League matches, Eze could earn his first international cap.

  2. John Stones as a midfielder: Former Blackburn and Celtic striker Chris Sutton believes it is the perfect opportunity for Southgate to try out John Stones in midfield. The Manchester City defender has excelled in this role for his club, even featuring in key matches such as the FA Cup and Champions League finals.

  3. Starting Rashford or Wilson, or both: While Harry Kane remains a certain choice as England’s primary center-forward, Southgate could consider testing the backup options. Callum Wilson and Marcus Rashford, both experienced in the number nine position, have made strong cases for their inclusion.

  4. Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips’ playing time: Since their last England appearance in March, both Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips have had limited game time for their respective clubs. Southgate expressed concern about their lack of minutes and the need to find competition in their positions.

Amidst these considerations, Southgate aims to assemble the best possible starting XI to secure victories against Malta and North Macedonia. Additionally, he must weigh the long-term prospects of the team as they strive for success in the upcoming Euro 2024 tournament.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about England’s key decisions

Q: What decisions does Gareth Southgate face for England’s upcoming European qualifiers?

A: Gareth Southgate faces several important decisions for England’s European qualifiers. He needs to consider whether to include Eberechi Eze in the squad, experiment with John Stones in midfield, choose between Marcus Rashford and Callum Wilson for the center-forward position, and address concerns regarding Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips’ playing time.

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SoccerFan22 June 15, 2023 - 9:49 am

gareth southgate needs 2 make sum big decishns! iz stones gonna play in midfield? Eze at 10? Rashford or wilson start? sooo many Qs! #EnglandQualifiers

SportsTalker99 June 15, 2023 - 12:29 pm

Southgate’s got his hands full with these England decisions. Stones as a midfielder, huh? Could be genius or a flop. Gotta give Eze a chance tho, he’s been on fire! Can’t wait for the qualifiers!

FootieLover17 June 15, 2023 - 3:26 pm

OMG, Southgate’s got some real headscratchers here! Stones in midfield? That’s cray! And Eze finally gettin’ a shot, bout time! Let’s hope Rashford shines up top! #ThreeLions


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