Bulgaria vs England
England’s final game of the international break sees them travel to Bulgaria on Monday evening.
The Three Lions will no doubt be looking to bounce back from their most recent outing vs the Czech Republic.
England traveled to Prague this past Friday for what they probably thought would be a fairly routine win.
Gareth Southgate’s side put five past the Czech Republic in their previous meeting. But this match was very different.
England never really got going, and would come away with a 2-1 loss.
That means that the Three Lions are now level on points with 2nd placed Czech Republic in Group A, although England do have a game in hand.
As for Bulgaria, they are bottom of Group A, and are the only side yet to pick up a victory in said group.
But, as England should have learned on Friday, you should never underestimate your opponent.
Highlights: Czech Republic 2-England 1
Here is how England could line up for their game with Bulgaria on Monday.
Changes at the back
England conceded two fairly poor goals vs the Czech Republic, especially the equaliser.
Michael Keane looked to be the man partly at fault for that goal.
This was not the Everton man’s first involvement in an opposition goal for England recently, with Keane also having played a role in one of Kosovo’s strikes back in September.
With Keane putting in some pretty sub-par displays recently for both club and country, perhaps Southgate should look elsewhere for someone to partner Harry Maguire in the centre of England’s defence.
While Joe Gomez hasn’t been featuring too much for Liverpool recently, the youngster could likely do a decent job vs Bulgaria.
As for the full-backs, Southgate started Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier on Friday.
If the England boss follows the same pattern that he did in the last international break, we will likely see Ben Chilwell and Trent Alexander-Arnold starting in the left and right-back spots vs Bulgaria.
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Winks to start?
One of the problems that England faced vs the Czech Republic was their midfield.
Neither Jordan Henderson or Declan Rice covered themselves in glory on Friday.
The pair didn’t seem to want the ball, and were not quick enough to turn and move play forward when they did receive a pass.
One man who is quick on the turn when receiving the ball from the back, and could be a useful asset for England to deploy is Tottenham’s Harry Winks.
With Henderson the more experienced English international, Southgate would likely drop Rice if he were to give Winks a chance.
In terms of the more attacking man in England’s midfield trio, with James Maddison back home, it is pretty much a straight choice between Mason Mount and Ross Barkley.
Neither player was very impressive when they were on the pitch vs the Czech Republic.
So, given the fact that Mount has been in better club form than Barkley, we could well see him handed his second England start on Monday.
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No changes up top
Moving onto England’s front three, while England created very little on Friday in Prague, Southgate probably won’t change too much in his attack.
Marcus Rashford is Southgate’s only real option to replace Raheem Sterling or Jadon Sancho.
And given what poor club form Rashford has been in recently, added to the fact that when he came on vs the Czech Republic, he did very little, it may be unlikely that the Manchester United man will be handed a start vs Bulgaria.
Perhaps once Callum Hudson-Odoi has been back playing a bit more regularly for Chelsea, we could see him in England’s first-team, challenging Sancho and Sterling. But for now, there isn’t really anyone who could replace them.
England captain Harry Kane is also unlikely to be replaced vs Bulgaria.
After the loss to the Czech Republic, Southgate should want an instant response on Monday. So, Tammy Abraham will likely have to wait for his first competitive England start, as Southgate should want to deploy his strongest XI to ensure all three points. And Kane, England’s captain and top scorer in Euro 2020 qualifiers, is a part of that.