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How England should line up against Senegal: Drop Henderson but bring back Saka

8:00 pm AEDT 3/12/22
Phil Foden Gareth Southgate Bukayo Saka Jordan Henderson England Senegal GFX
Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford both impressed against Wales but will they retain their places in the line-up for Sunday's last-16 tie?

England boss Gareth Southgate has plenty of big decisions to make as he ponders his starting XI to face Senegal on Sunday evening.

The Three Lions cruised into the knockout stages of the World Cup, with a 3-0 win against Wales sealing their passage through as group winners.

Southgate rotated his side for that final group stage fixture and two of the players he brought in, Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden, stole the show, sharing all the goals between them.

So what should the manager do against Senegal? We asked GOAL's Arsenal correspondent Charles Watts to pick the starting XI he would like to see at Al Bayt Stadium.

This is what he went for, using the same 4-3-3 formation Southgate has utilised in all three of England's game so far...

  • Jordan Pickford England 2022

    Jordan Pickford

    England’s No.1 has done nothing wrong so far this tournament and has made some important stops the few times he has been called upon. A vital part of the team.

  • Kyle Walker England 2022

    Kyle Walker

    Kieran Trippier didn’t do anything wrong in the opening two games, so it’s perhaps a bit harsh to leave him out of this one. But Kyle Walker just has that extra bit of pace and as long as he suffered no ill effects from his appearance against Wales, he would just get the nod for this one. Senegal have some fast wide players and Walker would be the better option to counter their threat, providing he is fully fit. 

  • John Stones England

    John Stones

    This one is an easy decision. Stones and Harry Maguire have been excellent to date, so there is no need to consider changing the centre-backs. Stones’ ability to play out from the back remains one of the most important aspects of this England team.

  • Harry Maguire England World Cup 2022

    Harry Maguire

    Maguire deserves a lot of credit for the way he has performed in Qatar. He was under immense pressure going into the tournament but has barely put a foot wrong as he continues to reward Southgate for the faith he has shown in him. A huge asset in both boxes, Maguire should keep his place.

  • Luke Shaw England 2022

    Luke Shaw

    Just like Maguire, there were doubts about Shaw ahead of Qatar 2022 due to his lack of regular game time with Manchester United this season. But the left-back has impressed in all of his appearances during the group stages. Starting Walker at right-back does raise the possibility of switching Trippier over to the opposite side of the back four, but that would be harsh on Shaw.

  • Declan Rice England 2022

    Declan Rice

    The West Ham skipper has perhaps not been at his top level so far in Qatar, but he remains England’s best holding midfielder, meaning he is still one of the first names on the team-sheet. Jordan Henderson is another option to sit in front of the back four and played quite well against Wales, but he is still some way behind Rice in the pecking order.

  • Jude Bellingham England

    Jude Bellingham

    There will be many who want to see Henderson play just in front of Rice, as he did against Wales. But I would rather ask Bellingham to operate in that role. The Borussia Dortmund man might have to rein in his desire to attack a bit so that he can support Rice and help him out defensively, but he would still have the opportunity to get forward to support the attackers. Playing slightly deeper would give him the opportunity to make those late runs in the box which make him such a threat, rather than often receiving the ball with his back to goal.

  • Phil Foden England 2022 World Cup

    Phil Foden

    The main reason for using Bellingham in a slightly deeper role is to get Foden into the side as one of the central midfielders. Obviously, Foden can be a threat from out wide, as he showed against Wales, but it still feels like he would be more involved in the game when operating in a more central position.

  • Bukayo Saka World Cup

    Bukayo Saka

    It seems like Saka’s superb performance against Iran has quickly been forgotten. He wasn’t at his best against the United States, but he was hardly alone in that. The Arsenal man is always such a threat when he starts and for me he has to be in the team on the right hand side of the attack.

  • Harry Kane England World Cup 2022

    Harry Kane

    Kane may not have scored yet in the tournament, but he has set up goals against Iran and Wales. Even if he is not scoring, his ability to create for others make him a must pick for any England side.

  • Marcus Rashford England 2022

    Marcus Rashford

    It would be very harsh to drop Rashford following his match-winning display against Wales. He may have had more joy while playing on the right on Tuesday night, but there is no doubt he is usually more comfortable on the left of the front three. That would mean leaving Raheem Sterling out, but the Chelsea forward could still have a big part to play off the bench.

  • England XI vs Senegal

    England starting XI

    So, here it is, the starting XI I would like to see England line up with against Senegal.

    It's a game where they should look to be on the front foot, so playing Foden as one of the central midfielders should not be much of a problem.

    Saka and Rashford are both in form and would be a real threat either side of Kane, with the likes of Sterling and Grealish on the bench to make a difference in the second half if needed.