Gareth Southgate ponders putting faith in Nick Pope for England’s opening game against Wales as he looks to name an experimental side
- Gareth Southgate is considering naming an experimental side against Wales
- Southgate is also planning to rotate his squad against Belgium and Denmark
- The England boss is keen to take a look at Nick Pope during at least one game
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Harvey Barnes and Bukayo Saka hope to make debuts
Gareth Southgate is considering naming an experimental side for Thursday’s home nations clash against Wales, with Nick Pope pushing for a Euro 2020 audition.
The England boss is planning to rotate his squad for the forthcoming matches against Wales, Belgium and Denmark, and is eager to have a look at Burnley shot-stopper Pope in at least one of the games.
Gareth Southgate is considering naming an experimental side against Wales on Thursday
The England boss is keen to take a look at Burnley keeper Nick Pope during at least one game
Jordan Pickford’s position as England’s undisputed No 1 has been thrown into doubt
Southgate kept faith with Pickford against Iceland and Denmark despite growing pressure from Pope.
But the England boss wants to give all his goalkeepers — including Dean Henderson — an opportunity to impress between now and next summer’s Euros.
Pope was unlucky not to be given an opportunity to play during the previous fixtures, when Southgate stayed loyal to Pickford.
However, the 28-year-old is expected to be given a chance to impress this time, with the former Charlton man hoping for a start against Wales Thursday night. Southgate will fully utilise his squad during the triple-header amid concerns about fatigue among Premier League managers.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (left), Harvey Barnes (right) and Bukayo Saka hope to make debuts
Calvert-Lewin may also have the opportunity to play against both Belgium and Denmark
As will Barnes as Southgate plans to rotate his squad as players push for a Euro 2020 audition
Jack Grealish will also be looking to cement his place in the team during their upcoming games
The England boss is planning to give some of his inexperienced contingent an opportunity to shine against Ryan Giggs’s side at Wembley and will play a stronger team against Roberto Martinez’s Belgium on Sunday.
Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, midfielders Harvey Barnes and Bukayo Saka and defender Reece James — who are all in the squad for the first time — are hoping to make their debuts against Wales.
One of the biggest selection issues Southgate must resolve is who he plays on the left side of defence, given Ben Chilwell’s unavailability after breaching Covid regulations by attending club-mate Tammy Abraham’s surprise 23rd birthday party.
The national-team boss is now without a recognised left back in the squad.
Southgate is without a recognised left back in the squad after Ben Chilwell broke Covid rules