Search icon


02nd Jun 2018

Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli both start for England against Nigeria

Gareth Southgate sticks to his preferred back three formation

Reuben Pinder

It’s like the modern day Lampard-Gerrard conundrum

England play their first warm up game before the World Cup today, against Nigeria at Wembley. It might be a friendly but Gareth Southgate and fans nationwide will be hoping for a win and a convincing performance.

There are very few surprises in Southgate’s team selection, as he sticks to his preferred back three system, with Kyle Walker tucked in at right-centre-back.

The area of the pitch subject to the most debate in recent weeks and months has been central midfield. Southgate wants to play three central midfielders, with Raheem Sterling behind Harry Kane up front, which caused people to worry about how Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard would fit into the team.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was hugely impressive this season for Liverpool, playing on the right hand side of a midfield three but a knee injury has ruled him out of the tournament, making room for Lingard and Alli to play as the two slightly more advanced midfielders, or ‘interiors’ as they call them on the continent.

England line up against Nigeria with the following XI:

Pickford; Walker, Stones, Cahill; Trippier, Lingard, Dier, Alli, Young; Sterling; Kane. 

Jordan Henderson will almost certainly start ahead of Eric Dier in the opening game against Tunisia but the Liverpool captain has been given a rest after playing in the Champions League final.