Phil Neville picks his England World Cup XI - and includes one very surprising name

So, after qualifying for the 2018 World Cup with a whimper, the focus for England is now on who will actually make the final squad for the Russian showpiece.

Gareth Southgate’s men did remain undefeated for the entirety of their 10 matches in qualifying, however, they failed to sparkle on any occasion.

In fact, in their final two matches against Slovenia and Lithuania, they were pretty hopeless, winning both 1-0 courtesy of the country’s one in form player, Harry Kane.

The manager has already responded to the two dire displays, stating that he will look to copy Antonio Conte’s three-man defensive formation in order to galvanise England on the biggest stage of all.

“For me in terms of the way we’d want to play from the back, I think three at the back is a better option,” Southgate said.

“At the moment we turn the ball over too much, and when we do we split the two centre-backs wide open. We were still open in Lithuania with three [at the back], so we will benefit if we don’t keep turning the ball over.

“But I think the system gives us good stability and it gives us easier solutions for our midfield players as well. Then there is a possibility to switch with what we play in front of it: maybe get two strikers in for certain games, or two midfielders off a forward.

“Three in midfield and two forwards also becomes an option. But I think three at the back is what we ought to do.”

It could work, but if it is not implemented correctly, the likes of Brazil, Germany, France and Spain will destroy the Three Lions if they do indeed meet them.

One man who does not believe England should revert to the new system is Phil Neville, who has already picked his ideal starting XI.

The former Manchester United left-back nominates the likes of Kane, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson and Kyle Walker, but he does make one very surprising choice; Everton’s Ross Barkley.

That’s right, the forgotten man makes the side, eliminating Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling to the bench.

Barkley would lineup alongside Alli and Marcus Rashford behind Kane.

Tottenham’s Eric Dier misses out, as does Jack Butland, with Adam Lallana and Henderson in midfield.

Here’s the full lineup:

NEVILLE’S XI: Hart, Walker, Stones, Jones, Rose, Henderson, Lallana, Barkley, Alli, Rashford, Kane.

You can bet that very few will agree with pundit, who is renowned for his slightly farfetched opinions.

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