England vs Spain preview
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When the Nations League draw was made, England would have been seen as huge underdogs up against the Spanish, but after Spain flopped in Russia with a last-16 exit to the hosts, Gareth Southgate’s men now look to be favourites.
There have been several changes made to the squad that did so well in Russia.
Back-up goalkeeper Nick Pope and centre-back Phil Jones are both out injured, while Jamie Vardy and Gary Cahill have retired from international football (although they say they would return in case of an injury crisis).
Ashley Young - who was first choice left wing-back at the World cup - has been overlooked for Luke Shaw, with the younger man excelling after taking Young’s place for Man United.
Alex McCarthy, James Tarkowski, Joe Gomez and Adam Lallana were all called up - although the latter has pulled out of the squad with a groin injury sustained in training on Tuesday.
Raheem Sterling also withdrew with a back injury, but despite the Man City winger and Lallana both now missing out, Southgate has only called up an extra goalkeeper - Marcus Bettinelli of Fulham
We expect Southgate to go with the same 3-3-2-2 formation that did so well in Russia, with largely the same personnel too.
Shaw will compete with Danny Rose for the left wing-back spot, with the Tottenham man perhaps in pole position as he was present in Russia.
Marcus Rashford is set to replace Sterling alongside Harry Kane in the front two.
For Spain, it is a completely new era as former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique takes charge for the first time.
The former midfielder won the treble at Barca, and says he will stick with the 4-3-3 formation that served him so well there.
Gerard Pique, David Silva and Andres Iniesta have all retired, so it will be a new-look side lining up at Wembley.
Diego Costa has pulled out of the squad due to personal reasons, with reports in Spain suggesting it was due to his wife going into labour.
The former Chelsea man did, however, train with Atletico Madrid yesterday.
Jordi Alba was overlooked by his former Barca boss Enrique, having made some negative comments after the manager left the Nou Camp in 2017.
With Nacho Monreal also snubbed, Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso is in line to earn just a second cap at left-back.
A big decision for Enrique is over who will replace retired Pique alongside Sergio Ramos at centre-back.
Utility man Nacho is in contention, along with Athletic Bilbao’s Inigo Martinez and Napoli veteran Raul Albiol.
In midfield, Sergi Roberto, Saul Niguez and Thiago Alcantara will battle it out for the starting spots either side of Sergio Busquets.
While in the front three, Isco and Marco Asensio look most likely to flank a lone striker - probably Chelsea ace Alvaro Morata, although Valencia’s Rodrigo and Celta Vigo’s Iago Aspas are alternatives.
Following this game, England face Switzerland in a friendly at Leicester, while Spain host Croatia in their second Nations League clash - both on Tuesday evening.
England (3-3-2-2): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Henderson, Rose; Alli, Lingard; Rashford, Kane
Spain (4-3-3): De Gea; Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Alonso; Roberto, Busquets, Thiago; Asensio, Isco, Morata
Odds: England 8/5, Spain 8/5, Draw 19/10
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