England manager Gareth Southgate could hand a senior international debut to Ivan Toney for Friday’s UEFA Nations League clash with Italy at San Siro.
The Three Lions could be relegated from League A Group 3 if they fail to win, but Southgate did not hesitate to award Brentford’s Toney his maiden call-up for September’s games.
Any debut for the striker is sure to come from the bench, as 50-goal captain Harry Kane leads the line as he inches ever closer to Wayne Rooney‘s record of 53 strikes in England colours.
With Jordan Pickford absent due to injury, the door has opened for Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale to impress on the international stage, and it remains to be seen if he will be protected by a back three or back four.
Whatever defence Southgate selects will be without John Stones, who is suspended after seeing red in the 4-0 defeat to Hungary, so Reece James, Fikayo Tomori and Harry Maguire could all line up from the off.
Kieran Trippier and Ben Chilwell can expect to start in the wide areas if that is the case, as Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham form a promising midfield pairing. Jordan Henderson has been called up to replace the injured Kalvin Phillips but will likely start on the bench following his recovery from a hamstring issue.
Raheem Sterling‘s spot in the side is surely safe following his quick start to life at Chelsea, but Mason Mount is yet to bag a goal or assist in Premier League action this term, so Phil Foden can feel optimistic about his chances of starting this one.
England possible starting lineup: Ramsdale; James, Tomori, Maguire; Trippier, Rice, Bellingham, Chilwell; Sterling, Kane, Foden
> Click here to see how Italy could line up for Friday’s game