MX23RW : Sunday, December 16 06:38:31

How England could line up against Croatia

Ahead of Friday evening's UEFA Nations League clash between Croatia and England, Sports Mole looks at how the Three Lions could line up.

England head to Croatia on Friday evening for the second match of their UEFA Nations League campaign, aiming to bounce back to winning ways.

The Three Lions were beaten 2-1 by Spain at Wembley Stadium in last month's opener and are now at risk of suffering relegation to League B.

Gareth Southgate was given a chance to experiment in the 1-0 win over Switzerland a few days later, and now the England boss must decide whether to return to his favoured setup or integrate a few of the new faces into the senior fold.

Here, Sports Mole looks at how Southgate may set out his side for this week's clash in Rijeka.

Possible ENG XI vs. CRO

Left-back is proving a troublesome position for Southgate heading into Friday night's match, as Luke Shaw has withdrawn from the squad through injury and Danny Rose is also carrying a knock.

Ben Chilwell, promoted from the Under-21s side earlier this week, may therefore go straight into the side for just his second ever appearance at senior level.

Assuming England continue with a three-man backline, Joe Gomez, John Stones and Harry Maguire should get the nod in the middle, with Kieran Trippier out on the right, although versatile Kyle Walker is also in contention.

Jordan Pickford and Harry Kane are almost certain to start in goal and up front respectively, meanwhile, and Raheem Sterling - despite questionable international form - is also a favourite for Southgate, leaving just the central midfield positions to sort.

With Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek not available, Harry Winks is in line for a first Three Lions outing in over a year, and Ross Barkley has also forced his way into the reckoning thanks to his club form.

Southgate is also expected to go with Jordan Henderson in the middle for this behind-closed-doors clash, but he could spring a surprise of sorts by including James Maddison - one of four potential debutants this week - in his starting lineup.

> Click here to see how Croatia could line up for this fixture

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Who will win Friday's UEFA Nations League clash between Croatia and England?

Croatia
Draw
England
Croatia
34.7%
Draw
24.5%
England
40.8%
James Milner celebrates scoring the second during the Champions League group game between Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain on September 18, 2018
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