Three talking points ahead of England’s World Cup qualifiers

The first international break of the season is now upon us, with European teams taking part in World Cup qualifiers over the next week and a half.

England will face three World Cup qualifiers against Hungary, Andorra and Poland.

It will be the first time Gareth Southgate‘s side are in action since losing the final of Euro 2020 to Italy.

In terms of squad selection, Southgate has handed Patrick Bamford his first call-up, whilst Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jesse Lingard also return to the fold.

Let’s take a look at some of the major talking points ahead of the upcoming international fixtures:

Can England maintain positive Euros momentum?

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After the ecstasy of reaching their first ever European Championship final, England now resume their 2022 World Cup qualification campaign.

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Their record in these matches is pretty much unmatched. England haven’t lost a World Cup qualifier for 12 years.

But Hungary and Poland away are two of the toughest trips any side could face – and the Poles in particular caused some problems for Gareth Southgate’s side at Wembley.

Three wins out of three – with good performances – would ensure England maintain the momentum that took them to the Euros final.

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How will Southgate set up?

Barring their last 16 clash against Germany, England exclusively played a four-at-the-back formation during Euro 2020.

It is one of the great strengths of this current side that they are able to interchange between systems with such efficiency.

With similar personnel named in the World Cup qualifying squad, you’d likely expect England to stick with a four – but it will be interesting to see what Southgate decides.

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Opportunities for new & young players

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Southgate has only introduced one complete debutant to the England set-up, with Patrick Bamford receiving a maiden call-up.

With Harry Kane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin ahead of him, Bamford won’t be a first-choice starter – but could well feature in at least one of the three games.

Jude Bellingham is another that has an opportunity ahead of him for game time. With six central midfielders named, and three games to play inside a week, it could well be that Southgate explores the entirety of his squad throughout the international break.

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We could also see more time on the pitch for the likes of Reece James and Bukayo Saka, whilst there’s also a return to the squad for Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Featured Image Credit: Getty