England v Bulgaria: Our football experts, including Soccer Saturday's pundits pick Gareth Southgate's starting line-up for Euro 2020 qualifiers

Our football experts pick their preferred England starting line-up for the Euro 2020 qualifiers
Our football experts pick their preferred England starting line-up for the Euro 2020 qualifiers

Our football experts, including the Soccer Saturday pundits, pick their preferred starting line-ups for Gareth Southgate's side in the Euro 2020 qualifiers


Matt Le Tissier - @mattletiss7

Matt Le Tissier's best England XI
Matt Le Tissier's best England XI

I think Declan Rice has a big future. In the position he plays, he shows a lot of maturity for his age. He is quite versatile too, so in emergencies he could slip back into centre-half and play there quite comfortably too.

Gareth Southgate is a big fan of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and said that he would have been up there with first choice to be in his 2018 World Cup side if he was not injured. I am also a big fan of his, so if he is fit, he gives you something from midfield which other people do not. He has an explosive nature about him. James Maddison is very close and has done very well, so he will be one of the substitutes that are used.

I think the attack is the strong point for England. When you are that strong, the important thing is that you improve at the back too, so two clean sheets is something that Southgate would be aiming for, and it would give the defence a heap of confidence too. A lot of people talk about the attackers and their threat, but it is just as important to keep those clean sheets.

Phil Thompson - @Phil_Thompson4

Phil Thompson's best England XI
Phil Thompson's best England XI

"If Gareth Southgate is looking for a youthful team then he will go with Ben Chilwell at left-back. If England can win these two qualifying games comfortably, which I think we will, then he will tip it ahead of Danny Rose. Southgate seems to like Harry Winks so he will be in, probably alongside Jordan Henderson. It would not surprise me if he goes with the Liverpool midfielder for his experience and his energy. He has to go attacking in these areas, so I think he will go with James Maddison. He has done enough to earn a start.

"I am looking for James Maddison to step up - it will be very interesting. He is creative and has a great set-piece delivery, as well as having goals in him from the number 10 role. It will not be a defining set of games for Maddison but will give us an insight into whether he can step up to the plate at international level, which is a big step do not get me wrong. He took to the Premier League very quickly, so there is no reason why he cannot kick on here. I would like to see Mason Mount feature a bit from the bench too, to see what he can do."

Tom Carnduff - @TomC_22

Tom Carnduff's best England XI
Tom Carnduff's best England XI
  • Sporting Life's football writer says:

"You imagine that Gareth Southgate will stick to a similar looking line-up from recent internationals and Pickford should retain his spot in goal.

"At the back, England have two options in each of the full-back positions but Trent Alexander-Arnold and Danny Rose should be the preferred option, providing a nice balance of youth and experience. In the centre, Joe Gomez is likely to get the nod in partnering Harry Maguire.

"The midfield could be interchangeable but Jordan Henderson and Declan Rice seem certainties to start. I’d back Harry Winks to be alongside them in a trio – that’s despite the exciting talents of Mason Mount and James Maddison on the bench.

"Harry Kane as captain will lead the line and Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho are the best options on the wing."

George Pitts - @GeorgePitts_

George Pitts' best England XI
George Pitts' best England XI
  • Sporting Life's football writer says:

"Although Tom Heaton has performed well at times for Aston Villa, Jordan Pickford remains first choice - for now. Aaron Wan-Bissaka pulled out of the squad through injury and Trent Alexander-Arnold gets the nod ahead of Kieran Tripper after his start with Liverpool, while on the other flank Ben Chilwell, although he has made just two appearances this season, should be our long-term left-back. Harry Maguire is one of the first names on the team sheet now and a promising partnership could be with Tyrone Mings, a solid centre-back who has stepped up well with Aston Villa - and a left-footer!

"With an all-out attack that could trouble the world's best defences, there's steel in midfield with Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson there to put in the yards both going forward and defensively, while Ross Barkley can provide the link between midfield and attack. There was a temptation to add in James Maddison, but the others provide more balance to the team."

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