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Paul Merson hands Gareth Southgate England starting XI for World Cup

Arsenal legend, Paul Merson, has handed England manager Gareth Southgate his starting XI for the 2022 FIFA World Cup opener against Iran later this year.

England are in Group B in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and will face Iran, USA and Wales.

This year’s World Cup will start on Sunday, November 20, in Qatar.

However, in his latest Sky Sports column, Merson wants Southgate to start goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in goal and the likes of Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling to lead England’s attack line.

He said, “We are playing Iran in the first game, which is going to be hard.

“Jordan Pickford will be in goal, with Trippier at left-back because it might be a set play that wins it. Then I would have to put Walker at centre-back, because if you’re asking Alexander-Arnold to bomb forward then Walker has to play because of his pace. I would probably play John Stones with him.”

He added, “You don’t need two holding midfield players against Iran so there’s no need for both Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips. So I would play Rice in there, Mason Mount to the side of him with Phil Foden on the other side as we have to get him in the team. The front three will be Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford – if he keeps on firing.”

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