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24th Jun 2018

Raheem Sterling will start for England against Panama

Southgate is sticking with his man

Kyle Picknell

The ‘leaked’ England lineup had Rashford in his place

It has dominated the discussion this week in the build up to England’s second fixture of the tournament: would Southgate drop Raheem Sterling from the starting XI in place of Marcus Rashford?

Every man, woman, child, dog, cat and goldfish has their opinion on this, but Southgate has now made the call to stick with Sterling and only make one change, bringing in the impressive Ruben Loftus-Cheek after a thigh injury has kept Dele Alli out.

The team to face Panama: Pickford, Trippier, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Young, Henderson, Lingard, Loftus-Cheek, Sterling, Kane (c).

There was heated discussion over the potential lineup after it appeared that the England lineup had been leaked, following an incident involving a Daily Mirror photographer snapping notes from a training session that were claimed to reveal the manager’s preferred starting XI against Panama.

In it, Rashford was written down rather than Sterling, making today’s lineup news all the more surprising.

Was it, as Alan Shearer ambitiously predicted, a savvy double-bluff from Sir Gareth in an attempt to bamboozle the Panama coaching staff?

Yeah, we’re still not convinced either. Either way, England’s behind you Raheem.