In the last match before the side regroup in September, England play away to France in what’ll be seen as a chance for the players who didn’t get to play against Scotland to show their worth.
To just get this out of the way, I agree with the decision to replace Joe Hart for Tom Heaton with Butland playing the second half. It’s not that Hart has done anything wrong (though I felt he could’ve been better positioned for Scotland’s first free kick), but I’d like to see how either of the keepers do.
The last time the sides met was back in November 2015 following the atrocities in Paris the previous week. England won that fixture 2-0 with goals from Dele Alli and Wayne Rooney, but the match itself was less about sport and more about reflection and unity.
Both Heaton and Butland playing a part in this fixture makes sense as Gareth Southgate didn’t intend to play Joe Hart in any capacity.
Southgate also went on to say that it’s important to give [fringe] players the opportunity and game time as he doesn’t want the duo to give up on international duty due to lack of game time.On Butland, Southgate voiced that he can challenge for a number spot moving forward.
Also, Harry Kane will stay on as captain, though I’d prefer Gary Cahill given that he’s worked with John Terry as he seems to have a leadership mentality. I’m not complaining however. The reason why Southgate has kept Kane on as captain is because he feels that it makes sense to keep things as they are as it’s not good to change the captaincy role after just one game.
The England manager added that he’s not committing to a timescale on appointing a full-time captain. I think that this is a good move as a captain being named on a full-time basis could be a bad idea as barely anyone other potential candidates have been able to prove themselves thus far.
Ahead of the game, Blaise Matuidi has said he wants the home crowd to sing God Save Our Queen to show solidarity which I think is a good touch considering what has happened recently.
On the game itself, I think the match will be entertaining with the atmosphere bouncing. I don’t think the atmosphere will be as feisty as Hampden Park was though.
Looking at the game, I’d keep the same side that started against Scotland but make minor changes. I’d have Raheem Sterling in place of Dele Alli, and Jermain Defoe in place of Jake Livermore.
Who would you like to see start? Are you happy with Kane staying on as captain? Who would like to see as captain? Let us know @officialTFF
Feature image credit: cisko66