‘His ability to unlock teams is up there with the best in the world’: Rio Ferdinand would START Trent Alexander-Arnold in England’s World Cup opener with Iran… as he also selects a back three and Kyle Walker, despite fitness concerns for the Man City star
- England kick off their Qatar World Cup campaign against Iran on November 21
- They then face both the USA and Wales in their other matches in Group B
- Rio Ferdinand, Peter Crouch and Joleon Lescott picked an England team for Iran
- Ferdinand would start with a back three, while he picked Trent Alexander-Arnold
- Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results
Rio Ferdinand has said he would pick both Kyle Walker and Trent Alexander-Arnold for England’s World Cup opener against Iran, while he also favoured a back three.
Gareth Southgate’s side kick-off their tournament on November 21, before further group games with USA and Wales.
The England boss named his final 26-man squad on Thursday which included surprise recalls for James Maddison and Conor Gallagher, along with the selection of Walker despite injury concerns.
Rio Ferdinand would pick Kyle Walker and Trent Alexander-Arnold for England’s World Cup opener against Iran on November 21
Ferdinand also selected a back three with Alexander-Arnold at wing-back despite the Liverpool star seemingly falling down the pecking order for England over the past few years
Similarly, Alexander-Arnold made the XI despite often seemingly being far down the pecking-order for Southgate.
And Ferdinand, speaking on BT Sport, revealed what team he would pick for the game with Iran.
The former England defender lined-up with an XI of (3-4-3) – Pickford; Walker, Stones, Shaw; Alexander-Arnold, Rice, Bellingham, Saka; Sterling, Kane, Foden.
Explaining his decisions, Ferdinand said: ‘When the World Cup squad gets announced that’s when it starts getting real. I can’t wait.
‘I’ve gone for Trent at right wing-back. I think he’s going to go with a three. Walker is the safety net.
I’m going for Saka on the left, I’m going to go attacking and he can play there.
‘I’d play Foden and Sterling narrow as a box with a four with Bellingham and Rice behind them.
Gareth Southgate named his final 26-man squad for the World Cup on Thursday afternoon
‘Those two can change depending on the opposition – Grealish, Maddison and Rashford as well.
‘I’d bring in White (if Walker is not fit). He’s been really consistent for Arsenal.’
‘With (leaving out) Trippier, it’s a flip of the coin in terms of form. Trent’s ability to unlock teams is up there with the best in the world.’
Fellow BT Sport pundits Joleon Lescott and Peter Crouch also selected their teams for the game with Iran.
Crouch picked a side of: Pickford; Alexander-Arnold, Stones, Dier, Shaw; Bellingham, Rice, Maddison; Foden, Sterling; Kane.
Meanwhile, Lescott selected a team that consisted of: Pickford; White, Stones, Shaw; Alexander-Arnold, Rice, Bellingham, Saka; Sterling, Kane, Foden.
Both Lescott and Ferdinand selected Bukayo Saka at left-wing-back despite that not being the Arsenal forward’s natural position
When discussing their teams, Crouch said: ‘This is because we’re playing Iran, USA and Wales. I believe we’re stronger than them.
‘Dier is comfortable in possession. With those three in midfield, let the good players play. With that team you’ve got creators.
‘It’s not the team I would pick in the knockout stages but in the group stages that’s a team that can go out and beat anyone.’
Furthermore, Lescott said on his team: ‘Again, a similar team (to Ferdinand’s), slightly attacking, but you can also go to a back four. I think it’s less of a risk in terms of fitness for White over Walker.’
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