Gareth Southgate faces his toughest challenge yet as his 5th game in charge of the Three Lions is against old enemies Germany on Wednesday night.
Southgate has certainly made some interesting decisions in choosing his 26 man squad. But I feel they were all positive and correct moves. Firstly with Harry Kane’s injury, Jermain Defoe has been brought back in to the side at the age of 34, over three years since his last England appearance. With him being the second top scorer in the Premier League out of the English players, the recall is certainly deserved. The statistic sounds even better when all goalscorers above him play for a side in the top seven yet Defoe has arguably the worst side in the league helping him out. The Sunderland striker is on great form at the moment and I would love to see him given a start against the Germans.
With Lingard, Redmond, Livermore and Ward-Prowse all being brought in to the side too it looks as if Southgate is basing his decisions on form ahead of anything else which I think is fantastic. He has dropped the ‘bigger’ names such as Rooney and Wilshere showing the England boss isn’t afraid to take a risk which is exactly what we need. With it being a friendly I would like to see two or three of these players feature (not necessarily starting).
Germany will be without Neuer for the match as he has to pull out with a calf problem but manager Joachim Low will still have a very nice choice out of Leno, Ter Stegen and Trapp for the starting position. In defence, Germany will most likely start with a defence of Mustafi, Hector, Howedes and Hummels if they are to choose their strongest back line. The Germans have a wide choice in the midfield/forward area with Khedira, Kroos, Draxler, Schurrle, Podolski, Can, Ozil, Muller, Gomez and in form Leroy Sane all up for selection.
England will be hoping for a repeat of last year’s match when the Three Lions came from 2-0 down to beat Germany 3-2 in Berlin. After being 2-0 down at the hour mark, goals from Kane, Vardy and a last minute header from Dier got England the win. Germany won the meeting before that in 2013 with a 1-0 win at Wembley with Mertesacker’s header winning the friendly. In the World Cup 2010, England lost 4-1 to the Germans when Lampard’s shot famously crossed the line after hitting the crossbar but it was not given and England went out in the round of 16 stage.
I feel confident in the 26 man squad Southgate has chosen but the Germany team is just too strong for us I think. They have plenty more world-class players in their team and I believe that will make the difference. But I also feel a young England side will put up a good fight and so with that I’m going for 2-1 to Germany and Southgate’s first loss as England boss.
Feature image credit: Markus Unger