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21st Jun 2018

Gareth Southgate’s training notes seem to suggest that Raheem Sterling will be dropped

Switching things up for Panama?

Darragh Murphy

It looks like Gareth Southgate is taking Jamie Carragher’s advice.

Earlier this week, Carragher suggested that his former teammate Raheem Sterling simply didn’t fit into the England set-up and recommended Southgate change things up ahead of their second World Cup group game.

Sterling struggled for long periods of England’s dramatic 2-1 victory over Tunisia on Monday night and was replaced by Marcus Rashford with 25 minutes remaining.

“At the moment, England are effectively playing with three number 10s, even though none of them are what you would describe as the classic versions of this position,” Carragher wrote in his column for The Telegraph.

“All rely on their movement and pace rather than ability to open up defences with a cute pass. It makes Sterling’s inclusion slightly illogical.

“Lingard and Alli are playing the roles of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva at Manchester City – what is now described as a ‘false 8’ – but with different skill sets. It is a central midfield position but more attacking than conventional.

“For City, Sterling has been most effective starting out wide and drifting in within Pep Guardiola’s 4-3-3 – he is more comfortable picking up possession when facing goal rather than with the defender at his back.

“There is no doubt he is capable of doing a job, but if there are long periods when Sterling is a striker surely it makes more sense to use Rashford or Jamie Vardy?”

It would appear that Southgate, who dislocated his shoulder while out on a run on Wednesday afternoon, agrees with Carragher because his notes from training on Thursday morning would suggest that Sterling is set to miss out on a starting place for England’s clash with Panama at the weekend.

If Southgate’s notes, which were snapped by the Daily Mirror, are to be believed then Sterling will be replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Sunday’s game.

Rashford is expected to start the match in support of main striker Harry Kane while Dele Alli is unlikely to feature after picking up a thigh injury in the win over Tunisia.