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Montenegro v England preview: What are the main team selection issues for Gareth Southgate for Euro 2020 qualifying game?

Harry Kane and the England team
Harry Kane and the England team

We look at the main talking points and team selection issues for Gareth Southgate as England face Montenegro in their second Euro 2020 qualifying game.

It could hardly have started any better for England against the Czech Republic, and now they make the trip to Montenegro on Monday for the first away day of the qualifiers.

Here's the main talking points ahead of the Group A game...

Can England secure a first win in Montenegro?

England could hardly have wished for a better start to qualifying after swatting aside the Czech Republic 5-0 in Friday's Group A opener. Raheem Sterling's hat-trick helped see off the second seeds at Wembley. England have drawn their two previous visits to the hostile Gradski Stadion in Podgorica, but the hosts do not boast the same talent they once did. Head coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic is certainly expecting a tough evening for his side. Asked if he had found any weaknesses in the England side, he said: "I'm really trying but I can't!"

Rice to start?

England manager Gareth Southgate plans to strike a balance between continuity and freshness on Monday given the quick turnaround. Among those surely set to come in is Declan Rice, who made his debut off the bench on Friday having completed his switch of allegiance from the Republic of Ireland. The 20-year-old held his own against the Czechs and Eric Dier's withdrawal from the squad with a hip complaint opens up a starting spot. The talented West Ham midfielder got a mainly positive reaction from the Wembley crowd on Friday, but it will be interesting to hear how the hardcore travelling support welcome him after old social media posts appearing to show support for the IRA resurfaced.

Teenage kicks

While Rice's inclusion appears certain given Southgate's limited options, it remains to be seen if Chelsea forward Callum Hudson-Odoi will also be handed his full debut. The 18-year-old became England's youngest-ever competitive debutant on Friday, impressing with a cameo off the bench against the Czechs. Southgate believes he is ready and capable to make the leap to international football, so the Under-17 World Cup winner could start a game for England before he has been named in a Premier League starting line-up by the Blues.

Changes at full back?

With full-backs playing such a key role in Southgate's system, it will be interesting to see whether he sticks or twists. Leicester's Ben Chilwell has started the Three Lions' last five matches but did not pull up any trees on Friday evening and Danny Rose offers an experienced alternative in Podgorica. Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker was not at his flying best against the Czech Republic either but is the only member of the 20-man squad to have been involved in a match in Montenegro. If Southgate decides against Walker, former Tottenham team-mate Kieran Trippier would surely relish the chance to answer questions about his recent form.

Henderson's half century

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson will reach the milestone of 50 caps if he plays a part in the game in Podgorica. The 28-year-old, who will face the media before Monday's match, made his Three Lions bow in 2010 and was part of Southgate's squad that reached the World Cup semi-final. Henderson has yet to score an international goal, even missing his penalty in the shoot-out win over Colombia last summer, so a first senior strike in another England win would be a good way to toast the occasion in the Balkans.

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Most Read Football

Christian Erkisen: The Danish midfielder scores an 88th-minute winner for Spurs v Brighton1

Eriksen breaks Brighton hearts

Christian Eriksen's 88th-minute goal gave Tottenham a 1-0 win over Brighton to keep their hopes of a top-four Premier League finish alive.

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages
2

Paper Talk: Chelsea's Coutinho

Chelsea chasing Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho is one of the transfer rumours doing the round in Tuesday's Paper Talk.

Shane Long: The Republic of Ireland forward celebrates after scoring the Premier League's fastest ever goal in Watford v Southampton3

Fastest PL goal record broke

Shane Long has broken the record for the fastest goal in Premier League history after scoring seven seconds into Watford v Southampton.

Pep Guardiola: The Man City boss instructs his players during their Premier League win over Tottenham4

Old Trafford fear factor gone - Pep

Pep Guardiola believes Old Trafford is no longer scary for Manchester City.

Callum Hudson-Odoi: Chelsea winger ruptured his Achilles tendon in the draw with Burnley5

Hudson-Odoi to undergo surgery

Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi is to have surgery on a ruptured Achilles tendon which ended his season.

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