Jamie Carragher names the three players Gareth Southgate should drop for Panama game

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It's very important to start a World Cup campaign off with a win.

Lose, and it's very likely you will need to win both remaining group games just to qualify.

But if you get off to a winning start, you're half way to the knock-out rounds.

And fortunately for England, they managed to do just that as they overcame Tunisia 2-1 thanks to a Harry Kane brace.

There were some good performances over the pitch, with Kieran Trippier, Jordan Henderson and Kane perhaps the three standout performers.

But there were also a few players that underwhelmed, giving Gareth Southgate food for thought when selecting his team for England's next group game against Panama on Sunday.

Jamie Carragher would have been watching the performance against Tunisia with a keen eye, and he has urged Southgate to make three changes to his squad.

Writing in his column for the Telegraph, the 40-year-old thinks that Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ashley Young should be replaced by Marcus Rashford, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Danny Rose for England's second group game.

"England’s system does not suit Sterling – or certainly not in the position he is currently occupying," he wrote. "It is designed to enable Southgate to select more attack-minded, technical players with the added protection of three centre-backs and a holding midfielder.

"Yet against Tunisia, even in the first half when England were at their best, Sterling was being pushed so far forward he was effectively alongside Harry Kane as a second striker.

"He can play the deeper role of a number ten well – four years ago he was outstanding in the position despite England’s loss to Italy – but Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard are so far advanced they are taking up the space Sterling would want to be.

Tunisia v England: Group G - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

"If Southgate persists with Sterling in this role, can he really trust him to provide the goals? Can he really take the recent goal form at Manchester City onto the international stage? It does not help if he is not playing in the position from which he struck those goals."

Carragher also thinks that Alli's suspected thigh strain means he should make way for Loftus-Cheek, while he is also confused why Young is being preferred to Rose at left-back.

"Southgate identified the tactical shift when he made the second-half substitutions, correctly replacing Sterling with Rashford and calling in Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who impressed with powerful running from a deeper midfield position.

"Given Alli appeared to be nursing an injury in the second half, I would start Rashford and Loftus-Cheek this weekend.

"Danny Rose must also be considered to replace Ashley Young. Other than a fitness issue, I am not sure why the left-footed Rose is not being preferred to the right-footed Young."

So Carragher thinks the starting XI should look like this...


To be fair, you can't really argue with Carragher.

Sterling and Young were poor on Monday night, while Alli was evidently suffering from an injury before being taken off in the second half.

In contrast, Rashford and Loftus-Cheek looked dangerous when coming on, while Rose will feel more comfortable as a natural left-back.

Do you agree with Carragher's changes? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

Tunisia Football
Panama Football
Gareth Southgate
Marcus Rashford
Dele Alli
Harry Kane
Raheem Sterling
England Football
Kieran Trippier
Jordan Henderson
Danny Rose
Ashley Young

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