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England vs Iran: Harry Maguire to start in World Cup opener as Gareth Southgate set to play 4-3-3

Harry Maguire will start in a back four against Iran in England’s World Cup opener; Maguire has made just one Premier League start since September; Jude Bellingham likely to play as Gareth Southgate opts for a 4-3-3 formation; reports also suggest Bukayo Saka to start ahead of Phil Foden

 

Southgate’s change of formation means there is space for an extra midfielder in the starting XI, with Jude Bellingham likely to make his first World Cup start.

Reports elsewhere suggest that Bukayo Saka will get the nod ahead of Phil Foden on the right wing.

Maguire’s inclusion is controversial considering he has made just one Premier League start since September but the Manchester United defender has been an integral part of England’s last two major tournaments.

The 29-year-old was key in the Three Lions’ 2018 World Cup semi-final run and was then named in the team of the tournament as England finished runners-up at Euro 2020.

But starting Bellingham is less contentious with the 19-year-old having an outstanding season at Borussia Dortmund with nine goals in 22 appearances in all competitions this season.

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