The 2022 World Cup out in Qatar is now less than two months away.
On November 20th, the action in the Middle East kicks off with the host nation’s match against Ecuador in Group A.
The second match of the tournament sees England take on Iran and now we’re in the midst of an international break, fans and pundits alike are offering their take on who the Three Lions should start in the fixture.
One man who’s recently given it a go is Liverpool legend Graeme Souness and he’s certainly not let bias cloud his judgement.
Despite the fact Souness still adores the team he captained successfully for many, many years, not a single member of Jurgen Klopp’s squad makes his chosen England XI for the country’s World Cup opener.
Yes, that includes Trent Alexander-Arnold, who the Scotsman has heaped praise on in the past while on punditry duty with Sky Sports.
Souness’ England XI for the 2022 World Cup
The Liverpool legend said while a guest on talkSPORT: “I’ve gone with [Jordan] Pickford in goal, a back-three of [John] Stones, [Eric] Dier in the middle of a back-three with [Kyle] Walker.”
“Wing-backs of [Ben] Chilwell on the left and Reece James on the right.
“In the middle, [Declan] Rice and [Jude] Bellingham, then up front, [Raheem] Sterling, Kane and [Phil] Foden.
On Alexander-Arnold’s absence, Souness added: “Trent Alexander-Arnold at Liverpool has been highlighted as not a very good defender but going forward there’s no one better. If you need to chase the game you’re getting Trent on because of his delivery.”
Souness’ England XI (3-4-3): Jordan Pickford (Everton), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Reece James (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham United), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea).
Okay, we know it’s the dreaded 3-4-3 formation that many England fans detest, but on paper that’s a strong-looking team – in our opinion anyway.
Dier has excelled in the middle of a back three since Antonio Conte arrived at Spurs, while James has proven in recent times that he’s a more complete full-back than Alexander-Arnold.
The midfield pairing of Rice and Bellingham is what every England supporter wants at the upcoming World Cup and the front three ticks every single box.
Bukayo Saka is perhaps a little unlucky to miss out, but in a formation that only accompanies a forward trio and not a quartet, the Arsenal man simply cannot make the cut at the expense of either Kane, Sterling or Foden.
Souness on Kane’s importance to England
Souness actually believes that if Kane – who’s started 2022/23 on fire at Spurs has a good World Cup, England can win the whole thing.
“I’m a big fan of Harry Kane,” Souness added. “I think England’s World Cup hopes depend on Kane having a very good World Cup.
“If Kane has a really good World Cup England could actually win it. He’s a world-class player. He’s someone who could go and get in anyone else’s team and he’s the only one out of the XI I’ve named that can do that right now.”