England World Cup line-up: Adebayo Akinfenwa picks bold XI for Iran clash

England’s preparations for the 2022 World Cup could certainly be going better.

Gareth Southgate’s men head into their final warm-up game before the tournament on the back of relegation in the Nations League, having not scored a goal from open play in more than 450 minutes.

The final whistle of their 1-0 defeat to Italy on Friday evening was met with boos from frustrated England fans, many deeply concerned for the Three Lions’ prospects in Qatar.

It would be naive to suggest that the Euro 2020 finalist’s side isn’t in need of an overhaul.

However, whether those changes need to be quite as sweeping as those suggested by former Wycombe and AFC Wimbledon striker Adebayo Akinfenwa during a recent appearance on talkSPORT is very debatable.

Making a number of big calls, Akinfenwa named his preferred starting XI for England’s opening group game with Iran on November 21 and you can check it out below.

Adebayo Akinfenwa’s bold England XI for the World Cup

GK: Jordan Pickford

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold

CB: Eric Dier

CB: Fikayo Tomori

LB: Kyle Walker

Kyle Walker playing for England
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JUNE 14: Kyle Walker of England during the UEFA Nations League League A Group 3 match between England and Hungary at Molineux on June 14, 2022 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

CDM: Jordan Henderson

CM: Jude Bellingham

CM: Phil Foden

CAM: Raheem Sterling

ST: Ivan Toney

ST: Harry Kane

Potential England World Cup 2022 XI
Potential England World Cup 2022 XI

Who doesn’t make Akinfenwa’s England XI?

Retired cult hero Akinfenwa has opted for a backline that has never played together before, with a brand new centre-back pairing of Dier and Tomori.

“I think Tomori gets overlooked because he’s not in the Prem,” argues Akinfenwa.

This means there’s no place for Harry Maguire or John Stones in the XI, while Reece James also misses out at right-back as Alexander Arnold gets the nod.

Reece James at Chelsea
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 27: Reece James of Chelsea in action during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on August 27, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Video: Akinfenwa selects his England World Cup XI

Declan Rice went viral following England’s loss to Italy after claiming that the team “would be good” come the World Cup.

However, the West Ham captain isn’t part of Akinfenwa’s Three Lions vision, with Liverpool’s Henderson instead preferred in a holding role.

READ MORE: Declan Rice gives defiant interview after England’s Nations League relegation

Toney to start for England at the World Cup?

Having missed out on the matchday squad to face Italy, it appears likely that Brentford frontman Toney will make his England debut against Germany at Wembley on Monday evening – and Akinfenwa wants to see the 26-year-old given his chance at the World Cup.

Toney is chosen to partner Kane up top, with Sterling playing just in behind the pair.

Ivan Toney at Brentford
BRENTFORD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 03: Ivan Toney of Brentford celebrates scoring their side’s third goal during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Leeds United at Brentford Community Stadium on September 03, 2022 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Akinfenwa appears convinced that his line-up will be a success, despite the lack of experience in certain areas.

“That’s winning it [the World Cup],” he declares as he finishes explaining his selections.

The XI might be light on international caps, but every member of the side is playing regular first-team football for the clubs, something with can’t be said for other members of Southgate’s squad.

The England boss is only 90 minutes of action away from having to make the decision for real.

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