Former Manchester United captain and England international Rio Ferdinand has selected his preferred England lineup for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar. The Three Lions have done really well in the international tournaments under Gareth Southgate but this time they will look to go the distance and lift the trophy.
Speaking on Vibe with FIVE podcast, Ferdinand backed a five man backline to succeed at the world cup allowing the wingbacks to full freedom to operate either flank. Ferdinand has taken some controversial calls as he had not picked players like John Stones, Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka or even the Leeds united midfielder Kalvin Philipps.
The former Manchester United captain shared how he has opted for a lineup best suited according to him. He shared the lineup, saying “I’m gonna go three at the back as I think that’s our best chance. [Harry] Maguire on the left, Kyle Walker central and Reece James on the right. Trent [Alexander-Arnold] at right wing-back and [Luke] Shaw left wing-back. I’m gonna go Declan [Rice] and [Jude] Bellingham [in midfield]. Foden in the hole and then two strikers, [Raheem] Sterling and [Harry] Kane.”
Not picking players like Kalvin Philipps, in form John Stones can be a part of the agenda for Ferdinand. But these two players were massive for Gareth Southgate and England at the Euros where they reached the finals and lost out on penalties against Italy.
Ferdinand highlighted Reece James’ ball-playing ability and feels that he is someone who can drive the ball into midfield and hand that momentum in build to the Three Lions. He also shares how he would like to hand a free role to Raheem Sterling where Harry Kane will be the primary striker holding the ball up. He expects Phil Foden to drop deep and double up in midfield.
Explaining her starting lineup, Ferdinand added, “James coming out with the ball coming into midfield because he can do that, he played midfield as a kid. Trent out on the right. Walker centre, he’s covering the whole backline on his own. My midfield, Declan, Jude and Foden dropping in as a number 10 and coming back into midfield. Free role for Sterling, he can go where he wants, Kane holding the ball up and running behind.”
England had an unbeaten qualification campaign where they won eight matches and drew two to progress to the main stage of the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Southgate’s men faced Switzerland and Ivory Coast in friendlies during this international break and defeated both teams as they fine-tune their squad for the big event.