December 5, 2022

World Cup: Joe Cole hands Southgate names of players to start against Iran

Former Chelsea star, Joe Cole, has handed England manager Gareth Southgate names of players to start against Iran at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

England will begin their World Cup campaign on Monday against Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

But Cole wants Southgate to start the likes of Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka ahead of Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling and Arsenal’s Ben White instead of Manchester United’s Harry Maguire.

He also wants Southgate to start Everton’s Jordan Pickford in the goalpost against Iran.

“As much as I love Raheem, he is not in form,” Cole said on William Hill’s Stripped Podcast.

“Bukayo Saka’s playing for the team at the top of the Premier League.

“It will evolve as the tournament goes on. Five substitutions as well – it is a game of 16 players effectively, so most players will get a chance.

“I would go with Pickford in goal, centre halves, I will go with Stones and [Ben] White in the group stage.

“Trippier right back, Shaw left back. Then I would play a midfield of Declan, Bellingham and Mason – Declan holding then the two 10s given licence to go forward.

“Then I would play Harry Kane up top, obviously, then probably start with Phil Foden on the right, then Saka on the left.

“There are four players who are going to play regularly – Pickford, Stones, Rice and Kane. You only take Kane off when the game’s done.

“That will be a problem for the other strikers because they know they are going there to play second fiddle. Everywhere else is up for grabs.

“I hate it when people say Gareth doesn’t know what he is doing – he is the most successful England manager since Alf Ramsey, that is a fact. So, let’s all get behind Gareth.”

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