Dier set to return after ban as Southgate keeps faith with Hart

03 September 2017 05:54

Gareth Southgate will make some changes for England's crunch World Cup qualifier against Slovakia, with Eric Dier in line to return after suspension.

Fresh from Friday's flattering 4-0 win in Malta, the Three Lions can move five points clear at the top of Group F and virtually secure their place in Russia next summer.

Jordan Henderson will again captain the side in Monday's encounter at Wembley, where goalkeeper Joe Hart, under so much scrutiny of late, centre-back Phil Jones and frontman Harry Kane will retain their starting roles.

Dier missed the Malta clash through suspension but is back available for Southgate, who appears likely to bring the trusted defensive midfielder into the side.

"We will make some changes but the core of the team is pretty much established and I don't think that would surprise too many people, really," the England boss told BBC Radio 5 live.

"Joe will stay as the goalkeeper and Eric is obviously an option we have.

"He's played in most of the games for us and he's playing well with his club, so, yeah, that's a possible change for us."

Jesse Lingard and Harry Maguire will be hoping to be part of the matchday squad having missed out on the 23 in Malta, while those brought off the bench there are pushing for a start.

Danny Welbeck scored on his first appearance since last March and fellow substitute Jamie Vardy caused the odd problem for a Maltese defence that struggled to cope with Marcus Rashford.

The 19-year-old produced an assist during a decent second-half display at the Ta' Qali National Stadium and, having made eight of his 10 appearances from the bench, is jostling among the attacking competition for his first England start at Wembley.

"He is a talent of high potential," Southgate said. "We really like his mentality so we wouldn't hesitate to start him.

"I think he has been playing very well for Manchester United all season.

"Starting him was a possibility in Malta but he missed some of the training, not only with us but also the week before with Manchester United, so we've also been looking after him a bit.

"But we would have no hesitation in selecting him.

"I have a lovely dilemma in terms of our attacking positions because we made three excellent changes the other night, we were very positive in the contribution that we got and I still had Daniel Sturridge and Jermain Defoe sitting next to me (on the bench).

"That highlights the ability within the group of forward players that we've got."

Source: PA


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