World Cup 2018: England's starting XI against Tunisia will be...

England's Kyle Walker and Jordan Henderson
Walker and Henderson look certain to start against Tunisia, but who will join them?
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Would you be confident naming Gareth Southgate's starting XI when England take on Tunisia in their opening World Cup fixture? The Betfair Sportsbook is. Well, almost. Mike Norman has the details...

Gareth Southgate insisted that the England line-up that started in the 2-1 win over Nigeria on Saturday may not necessarily be the one that lines up against Tunisia in two week's time, "but it won't be too far away", he said.

The Betfair Sportsbook has reacted, and at least 10 players look to have won the confidence of the England boss if the betting in the To Start For England Against Tunisia market is to be believed.

Jordan to be picked in goal

You can back Jordan Pickford at 1/5 to start against Tunisia, with Jack Butland available at 10/3 and Nick Pope seemingly the third choick at 20/1.

Southgate said that he made a "statement" by selecting Pickford against Nigeria, and the Everton keeper certainly didn't disappoint. This position looks nailed down.

Five at the back now looks certain

Southgate once again named three central defenders and two wing-backs, suggesting that this is now his preferred defensive formation.

Should he start with this formation against Tunisia then the betting suggests we'll see Danny Rose at left wing-back - he's 4/11 to get the nod ahead of Ashley Young (5/4) who started on Saturday - Kieran Trippier (1/4) at right wing-back, and the three central defenders being John Stones (1/8), Gary Cahill (1/2), and Kyle Walker (1/12).

Cahill's goal against Nigeria again showed how dangerous he can be in the opposition box, and perhaps it's Stones who could miss out on a place in the starting XI rather than the Chelsea man should Southgate bring in Leicester's Harry Maguire (5/4).

It's worth remembering that Southgate was never going to start any Liverpool players on Saturday, just one week after their Champions League disappointment against Real Madrid, so given the end-of-season form shown by Trent Alexander-Arnold, then he might not be the worst punt in the world at 5/1 to be given the nod against Tunisia.

How England might line-up against Tunisia on Monday 18 June...

England XI v Tunisia.png

Alli or Lingard the only decision to be made?

Further up the field the Betfair Sportsbook is convinced that the five players that will start against Tunisia rests between just six men.

Jordan Henderson looks certain to come back into the centre of midfield - a position Dele Alli played against Nigeria - and is 1/12 to resume his place alongside Tottenham's Eric Dier (1/16), while Raheem Sterling (1/20) and Harry Kane (1/33) look booked for two of the three attacking slots.

That just leaves Southgate with one decsion, to play Alli or Jese Lingard as the final piece of the attacking jigsaw.

Both can be backed at 5/6 to start against Tunisia, but with Lingard getting the nod to play an advanced role against Nigeria on Saturday, while Alli sat a little deeper, then perhaps the smart money will be on the Manchester United man starting in two week's time.


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