England boss Gareth Southgate is missing Declan Rice and Callum Wilson, as well as Ben White and Raheem Sterling, in training today ahead of Saturday’s showdown with France. The Three Lions will go up against the reigning champions in the quarter-finals of the competition. They’ll be underdogs but, having yet to lose in the Middle East this winter, will fancy their chances of springing a surprise.
England will go up against France on Saturday looking to make the semi-finals of a third major tournament on the trot, having done the same at the 2018 World Cup and at Euro 2020.
However, it appears the Three Lions have two slight worries ahead of the blockbuster showdown at the weekend.
Declan Rice is currently unwell, with the West Ham star sitting out training today. Should he fail to recover in time, then Kalvin Phillips could be in line for a first start of the competition.
And there was no sign of Callum Wilson, either, with the Newcastle striker undergoing some rehabilitation as he looks to challenge Harry Kane for a starting berth.
England are already without White, who flew home from the tournament at the start for personal reasons.
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And Sterling is yet to return to action, too, following a break-in at his family home with the Chelsea star returning to London.
While White won’t be going back out to Qatar, England have left the door open for Sterling to make a comeback once he can guarantee the safety of his family.
However, even if he does venture back out to the Middle East, there’s no guarantee he’ll secure a spot in Southgate’s starting XI for the weekend’s showdown with the defending champions.
Bukayo Saka is expected to start, with the Arsenal attacker bagging three goals at the tournament so far.
And Phil Foden is also primed to get the nod as well, with the Manchester City star impressing against Senegal last time out in a 3-0 victory.
Other than that, England should remain unchanged.
That means Jordan Pickford in goal, in front of a back four consisting of Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, John Stones and Luke Shaw.
Rice will play alongside Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham if available bit, if not, then that role will be occupied by Phillips instead.
And Saka, Foden and Harry Kane are expected to form England’s attack as they look to put the reigning champions to the sword.
Meanwhile, France have been hit with an injury concern of their own after Kylian Mbappe missed training on Tuesday afternoon.
Yet Southgate, speaking after his side’s 3-0 win over Senegal, expressed a belief Saturday’s opponents had other dangermen besides the Paris Saint-Germain striker.
“Of course (Mbappe) is a world-class player and has already delivered big moments in this tournament and in previous tournaments,” he said. “But there’s also, I think (Antoine) Griezmann is now over 70 consecutive games for France and I think he’s also a phenomenal player.
“We know Olivier Giroud so well and they have outstanding young midfield players as well.
“So, everywhere you look when we’re studying France at every age group, they have an incredible depth of talent in every position.
“It’s a huge test but one that we’re really looking forward to and it’s a great challenge for our team now.”