Czech Republic vs England
The second international break of the 2019/20 campaign is set to get underway this week.
England head into their next set of Euro 2020 qualifiers looking to extend their lead atop of Group A.
So far, Gareth Southgate’s side have amassed the maximum points available from their opening four qualifiers.
England’s closest competitors in their group look to be the Czech Republic who sit in 2nd spot with nine points from five outings.
It is the Czech Republic who England must face in their upcoming qualifying match on Friday the 11th of October.
The two sides have already gone head-to-head this year. England would emerge with a resounding 5-0 victory.
Highlights: England 5-Czech Republic 0
England’s current squad
— England (@England) October 3, 2019
Here is how Gareth Southgate could line his side up for their upcoming tie with the Czech Republic.
Who should partner Maguire?
Starting at the back, Jordan Pickford is pretty much nailed on to start a competitive tie for England now.
While Everton have not been doing so hot in the Premier League, Pickford’s performances for England in the past should be more than enough for him to retain his spot as England’s number one.
Also, out of the three keepers England have brought for their next two qualifiers, Pickford is the most competent with the ball at his feet, which is what Southgate likes.
Much like Pickford, Harry Maguire is almost guaranteed to be starting on Friday evening.
The towering central defender has been superb for England in the past and perhaps does not get enough credit for how good he actually is with the ball at his feet.
But with Manchester City’s John Stones still not fully fit, the spot next to Maguire looks to be up for grabs.
Fikayo Tomori of Chelsea has earned himself his first-ever call-up to England’s senior side after a promising start to the season under Frank Lampard.
But he may be a bit too inexperienced for Southgate who is looking to win every single qualifier.
That leaves Michael Keane, Joe Gomez and Tyrone Mings as potential partners for Maguire.
With Everton struggling recently and Keane not looking too impressive in England’s last qualifier vs Kosovo, plus Joe Gomez having limited game time recently, perhaps we could see Mings thrust into England’s second centre-back spot.
Kyle Walker has once again been omitted from Southgate’s England squad, leaving it a straight fight between Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kieran Trippier for England’s right-back spot.
Much like Walker, Trippier had a hiatus from the England squad recently but after his summer move to Atletico Madrid, Southgate once again looks to have faith in the 29-year-old.
And with the demanding schedule of modern players, plus England having to play Bulgaria just three days after the Czech Republic, perhaps we could see Southgate doing what he did in the last international break and give TAA a run out in one game and Trippier a start in the other.
Southgate took a similar approach with his left-backs as well in their previous two games, starting Danny Rose once and Chilwell once.
So, we will probably see something similar this time around.
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A youthful midfield
The last time England faced off against the Czech Republic, two of England’s midfield three were Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier, two fairly defensive-minded players.
Given England comprehensively beat the Czech Republic with that midfield, perhaps Southgate will be a bit more adventurous this time around and start two attack-minded mids instead of one.
Jordan Henderson will likely be the man tasked with sitting in England’s midfield three as he is more experienced than Declan Rice and Harry Winks.
That would leave two spots open and given the form both Mason Mount and James Maddison have exhibited in recent weeks, we could well see that duo let loose on the Czech Republic.
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Abraham misses out
Now, onto England’s front three.
Tammy Abraham has received a call-up to England’s senior side for the second time. The first occasion being in 2017 for a couple of friendlies.
Southgate’s decision to recall Abraham is certainly justified given that the Chelsea forward has found the back of the net on nine occasions already this campaign.
However, given England generally only play one striker and Harry Kane is their captain, it is hard to see Southgate dropping the Tottenham man.
That just leaves us with England’s two wingers. And with Marcus Rashford in dismal form so far this season, there should be a strong chance of us seeing Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho linking up with Kane in England’s attack.