We asked you to step into Gareth Southgate’s shoes and pick your preferred XI and formation for England against Senegal. We can now reveal the results…
So who do the Sky Sports digital readers want to see in the team? Here, we reveal which players made the cut…
England fans resoundingly selected a 4-3-3 formation, with Kyle Walker getting the nod over former team-mate Kieran Tripper – while tournament regulars John Stones, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw complete the rearguard.
In midfield, Jordan Henderson keeps his place after an impressive performance against the Welsh, alongside the ever-present Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham.
Up top, Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden retain consecutive starting berths to support Harry Kane, in favour of Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling.
Yes, that’s exactly the same starting XI that beat Wales 3-0 on Tuesday.
So, what about all the intricate selection headaches and topical issues?
We ran an England selection takeover in our dedicated World Cup blog on Wednesday and asked you, the readers, to have your say on a range of topics – inviting you to engage in polls and submit comments.
So, what did you say? Let’s find out…
Sky Sports poll results
Stick with 4-3-3?
Southgate has surprised many by deploying a 4-3-3 system at the tournament to far, which has been disputed as a 4-2-3-1 by some. Regardless, the team have ditched the customary three-at-the-back formation so far.
Our approach must be to focus on style of play and select the team to execute. Foden is great, like Grealish, but when we play the right style. ’66 was won by building the balance and approach, names mean less when the play has a focus. Take the USA game, the style wasn’t there.
The poll results reveal our readers agree with sticking with this front-foot approach, which caters for an additional attacking player. In total, 90 per cent of you agreed England should not revert to three at the back.
Walker or Trippier?
Walker returned to the starting XI against Wales and clearly impressed fans, with a poll-topping 38 per cent of you selecting the Manchester City defender as your first-choice full-back, followed by Shaw and Tripper.
If England stick with a back four, that would suggest fans want Walker to start down the right, with Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench.
On the thorny issue of Alexander-Arnold – who arguably only made the final squad due to injuries – our poll shed light on why opinion is so split: 51 per cent of you believe he deserves more game time.
Trent Alexander-Arnold!!! For sure, What is Southgate not seeing?!! He is one of the best right-backs in Europe and the level of assists he creates for Liverpool.
Notably, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips and Conor Gallagher each received only one per cent of votes.
Bellingham is the fans’ favourite in midfield, with a staggering 67 per cent voting for the teenager as their first name on the team-sheet, followed by Rice (22 per cent) and Henderson (eight per cent).
Henderson started against Wales and was lauded for instigating the press and his vocal presence. Indeed, that performance was appreciated by fans – with 56 per cent thinking the Liverpool captain should keep his starting berth.
First name on the list is Hendo, I’m a Spurs fan so not biased. His leadership is unquestionable and I think he brings more than Kane. EVERY great team has that old, wise head, he’s England’s….
Attacking selection headaches
Rashford received the player-of-the-match award against Wales after his double secured a table-topping finish in Group B. The Manchester United forward is now level atop the World Cup scoring chart with four other players in the race for the Golden Boot – of which, only Kylian Mbappe and Cody Gakpo remain in the tournament.
Rashford looked very sharp and Foden made such an obvious difference so direct and agile with the ball, could be the difference when we play a top team. Both have to start.
The 25-year-old has achieved that from just 107 minutes on the pitch, In fact, Sky Sports readers believe Rashford is England’s top-performing player at the tournament so far (30 per cent), ahead of Bellingham and Maguire (both 27 per cent).
Like Alexander-Arnold, Jack Grealish is yet to earn a start in Qatar and was used as a substitute to help England get up the pitch against the USA after scoring in the 6-2 win over Iran. To date, the Manchester City forward has registered only 55 minutes but 55 per cent of readers think that proportion of game time is spot on.
Jack Grealish has to start the next game with Foden and Kane up top. The Senegal players wouldn’t be able to stop Grealish in dangerous situations.
James Maddison was one of the headline names to make the squad after missing out on recent England squads. The Leicester City playmaker arrived in Qatar with a knee injury but has now returned to full training.
It’s time for Maddison to set this World Cup on fire next game.
So, should Maddison feature against Senegal? Well, 70 per cent of readers believe he should be used as an impact substitute, 18 per cent think he deserves a start and 12 per cent believe he should not be used at all.
Several readers were calling for captain Kane to be dropped for the starting line-up. We posed that question to the masses and only 36 per cent voted for Kane to be dropped – arguably still higher than expected.
Your question is, ‘Who supports Harry Kane up top?’ It should be, ‘Who starts up top? Harry Kane should be benched.
Kane should always start, if he isn’t scoring then he is busy giving assists.
The Tottenham striker is yet to score in Qatar after winning the Golden Boot four years ago in Russia, but has clocked a tournament-topping three assists and has been widely recognised for his broader attributes by dropping deeper and linking play – as he does for Spurs.