England have announced their team to face San Marino in their first qualifying match for the 2022 World Cup.
The footballing minnows arrive at Wembley having lost all of their previous six matches against the Three Lions, conceding 31 goals and scoring just once.
England are expected to win the game comfortably, and with potentially more testing fixtures awaiting in Group I against Albania and Poland in the coming days, Gareth Southgate has chosen to rotate his squad.
onor Coady, James Ward-Prowse, and Kalvin Phillips have all been handed starts and the England boss has also opted to play Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin up front, leaving captain Harry Kane on the bench.
Southgate had already hinted Kane would be benched for the fixture ahead of the other games, suggesting he doesn’t want to overwork his frontman.
“it is brilliant we have a captain who wants to play every minute of every game,” he said in the build up.
“We have got to be mindful he had extra time last Thursday and another high-intensity game last Sunday, so we have got situations with a lot of the players, really, and we have got to make sure we manage the fixture correctly.”
Kane, who has 32 goals in 51 appearances for his country, would have loved the opportunity to add his tally against San Marino as he looks to close in on Wayne Rooney’s record of 53.
However, the 27-year-old may have to wait for his next opportunity as Southgate shuffles his pack.
Reaction to Southgate’s decision was mixed, with some fans bemoaning the absence of the deadly hitman while others felt it was the right decision to rest the player.
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Kane’s Spurs teammate Eric Dier is also on the bench as is former Tottenham defender Kieran Trippier.
England go into the fixture hoping to kick off their world cup qualifying campaign in style against a San Marino team who have won just one match in their history, although have managed two 0-0 draws in their last three fixtures having lost the previous 39.
Southgate’s team then face Albania in Tirana on Saturday before returning to Wembley to take on Poland next week with Kane expected to return to the starting eleven.