Predicting England’s starting line-up for their clash with Bulgaria

England vs Bulgaria

England are set to take on Bulgaria on Saturday the 7th of September, in their first Euro 2020 qualifier of the 2019/20 campaign.

The last time England played was against Switzerland in the Nations League third-place play-off match, which Gareth Southgate’s side won on penalties.

England head into the clash with Bulgaria top of their Euro 2020 qualifying group.

The Three Lions are in Group A along with the Czech Republic, Kosovo, Bulgaria and Montenegro.

England have played two qualifying matches already, winning 5-0 and 5-1 vs the Czech Republic and Montenegro respectively.

As for Bulgaria, they are currently 4th in the group, after drawing two and losing two in their first four qualifying matches.


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Who replaces Stones?

Starting at the back, at this point, Jordan Pickford is pretty much a nailed-on starter for England in competitive ties.

The young goalkeeper is great with his feet and that is exactly what Southgate wants.

Pickford has also helped endear himself to the England fans by pulling off some excellent saves during the 2018 World Cup, and helping the Three Lions to win two penalty shootouts, vs Colombia and Switzerland.

The right-back spot may have been quite a tough choice for Southgate heading into Saturday’s tie.

However, after Aaron Wan-Bissaka withdrew from the England squad last week with a back problem, it will now likely be Trent Alexander-Arnold who starts there vs Bulgaria.

Moving on to the centre-back spots, John Stones had a bit of a nightmare in the Nations League semi-final.

And the Manchester City defender’s place for England may have been up for debate vs Bulgaria.

However, Stones has missed City’s last three league outings through injury anyway, which has led to Southgate omitting him from the England squad.

As a result, Southgate will likely partner Harry Maguire and Joe Gomez in the centre of defence vs Bulgaria.

With Luke Shaw injured, the left-back spot is only really contested by Ben Chilwell and Danny Rose, and with Chilwell a lot younger than Rose, Southgate will probably choose the Leicester man to start this weekend.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND – AUGUST 11: Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at The King Power Stadium on August 11, 2019 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stephen White – CameraSport/Getty Images)

A new-look midfield

For a few years now, England’s midfield has looked as though it lacks a bit of creativity.

Southgate has in recent times deployed the likes of Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli in front of one sitting player, usually Jordan Henderson.

While Henderson often does a solid job in the holding role, England’s creativity and goal-scoring threat from the more attack-minded midfielders hasn’t been great.

So, with James Maddison and Mason Mount both called up for England’s next two games, Southgate could well try out a new midfield trio of Henderson, Maddison and Mount.

Both Mount and Maddison have been in good form this campaign, with the former having scored two in four PL appearances, and Maddison assisting two in four PL ties.


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No room for Rashford

Moving on to England’s’ front three, Harry Kane looks to be fully fit, and should be a nailed-on starter for England.

Out wide, Southgate is likely to opt to play Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho.

Both Sancho and Sterling have been in excellent form for their respective clubs since the start of the 2019/20 season.

In five games across all competitions for Man City, Sterling has found the back of the net on six occasions.

Sancho, meanwhile, has scored two and assisted three in Borussia Dortmund’s opening three league outings of the season.

With Sterling and Sancho both in such good form, there is a strong possibility that Marcus Rashford could start from the bench vs Bulgaria.


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England’s predicted XI

Related: England vs Bulgaria betting tips: Euro 2020 qualifier match preview & predictions

Mason Mount says if he makes England debut there will ‘probably be few tears’ | ESPN FC

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