How England should line up in Euro 2020 qualifiers against Montenegro and Kosovo, according to stats – without Harry Kane and Harry Maguire
England will be looking to secure their place at Euro 2020 when they face Montenegro at Wembley on Thursday night.
The Three Lions have a three-point lead at the top of their qualifying group and need just a point from their final two games as second placed Czech Republic and third placed Kosovo face each other on Thursday too.
You can listen to full commentary of England vs Montenegro LIVE on talkSPORT, kick-off 7:45pm.
This will actually be England’s 1000th international but their preparation has been overshadowed by a training ground bust-up between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez.
The pair clashed during the closing stages of Liverpool’s win over Manchester City on Sunday.
However, their dispute was clearly not resolved and it is understood Man City star Sterling grabbed Reds defender Gomez by the throat at St George’s Park less than 24 hours later and the Liverpool defender was pictured with a mark just below his eye the following day.
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The incident has cost Sterling his place in the starting XI against Montenegro but he is still with the squad so is in contention to play in the final qualifier at Kosovo on Sunday – a game you can also listen to LIVE on talkSPORT, kick-off 5pm.
Meanwhile, Tom Heaton, Ross Barkley and Fabian Delph have pulled out injured. Jordan Henderson won’t play against Montenegro either as he’s suspended but is available to face Kosovo.
Manager Gareth Southgate will therefore be making changes. But who should be playing, according to the stats?
talkSPORT.com has consulted WhoScored to see which players should start actually start at Wembley and out in Kosovo based on who the top player is in each position that have also made at least eight appearances in their specific role this season.
LIVE on talkSPORT
Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week
- England vs Montenegro (Thursday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT
- Coventry vs Rochdale (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Azerbaijan vs Wales (Saturday, 5pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Tranmere vs Wycombe (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Kosovo vs England (Sunday, 5pm) – talkSPORT
Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale
Jordan Pickford, Dean Henderson and Nick Pope are the keepers Southgate has to choose from in these upcoming qualifiers.
But Bournemouth man Ramsdale is the best performing English stopper so far this season with a WhoScored rating of 6.87 out of 10.
Pickford, who is likely to start both games, is actually the sixth-best performing English goalkeeper this season, according to the stats.
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Chris Smalling, Fikayo Tomori, Ben Chilwell
Liverpool fans will wonder what Alexander-Arnold has to do to be a regular starter for England and so do the stats. The right-back has a rating of 7.36. He’s ahead of Atletico Madrid star Kieran Trippier, who is rated at 7.17.
At left-back, Chilwell edges out Danny Rose with a rating of 7.16 to Rose’s 6.61.
The centre-back pairing is a surprise though with Fikayo Tomori partnering Chris Smalling, who is on loan at Roma from Manchester United.
In fact, it’s Smalling who is considered to be the best performing English centre-back with a rating of 7.26 while Chelsea youngster Tomori is rated 7.09.
Harry Maguire, who’s move to Old Trafford led to Smalling’s departure in the summer, is all the way down in eighth with a rating of 6.88.
Midfielders: John Lundstram, Mason Mount, James Ward-Prowse
In midfield, only one player from Southgate’s squad makes this XI with Mount boasting a rating of 7.20.
But in the defensive midfield role there’s something of a surprise with Sheffield United man John Lundstram the best performing player in that position with a rating of 6.95.
Lundstram started his career at Everton but is playing in the top flight for the first time this season and he has been brilliant.
He was the Blades’ best player in their draw at Tottenham last weekend, striking the post with a crisp strike in the first half.
In the second half, he was on the wrong end of the tightest VAR call of the season as Lundstram was offside by a mere toe’s length before David McGoldrick put the ball in the net.
And in Henderson’s absence for the Kosovo game, it spells an opportunity for Southampton man James Ward-Prowse, who has a score of 6.86.
This is a surprise given Saints’ poor start to the Premier League season. They are currently 19th.
James Maddison and Jack Grealish miss out having played as wingers at different points this season meaning they failed to fit the appearance criteria.
Forwards: Jadon Sancho, Tammy Abraham, Dwight McNeil
Sterling has been in excellent form this season and has a rating of 7.64 but as he’s not playing against Montenegro he’s been left out of this XI.
The next best performing left winger this season has actually been Burnley man Dwight McNeil, who is rated 7.19 so far this campaign.
Despite being taken off during Borussia Dortmund’s 4-0 defeat at Bayern last weekend, Sancho has been the best performing Englishman on the right with a 7.53 rating.
Meanwhile, Chelsea youngster Abraham has knocked Harry Kane off as England’s top striker with a rating of 7.59 compared to Kane’s 7.01.
Kosovo vs England – with Henderson and Sterling
But against Kosovo, Henderson and Sterling are allowed to play so this is the XI that should start against Kosovo if the WhoScored database was the England manager.
Source: SportsLatest TS