Gareth Southgate says that his England side are “100 per cent united” in their response to racism ahead of the Three Lions International double header this week.
England play the Czech Republic tonight, but the build up to the game has been dominated by a racism row after the President of Bulgarian FA criticised England for voicing concerns over racism.
Before Monday’s clash against Bulgaria, the Three Lions will face Czech Republic in Prague, where England will qualify for Euro 2020 with a win.
Southgate’s side will be hoping to extend their lead at the top of Group A and are three points clear of their opponents tonight, who sit in second place, despite having played a game more.
The North West is widely represented in Gareth Southgate’s squad, with 10 players coming from teams in the region.
All three goalkeepers available to Southgate are from northern teams, with Everton’s Jordan Pickford predicted to retain his place as England’s number one, despite pressure from Burnley’s Nick Pope and Manchester United’s on loan goalkeeper Dean Henderson.
Three of the back four are predicted to be representatives of North West clubs, with Liverpool’s Trent Alexander Arnold expected to line up alongside United’s Harry Maguire and Everton’s Michael Keane.
Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson will almost certainly start in midfield, with Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling anticipated to start in attack alongside Harry Kane and Jadon Sancho.
Marcus Rashford and Joe Gomez are likely to be on the bench.
Gomez may miss out due to a lack of game time at Liverpool this season, struggling to dislodge Virgil Van Djik and Joel Matip from the heart of the Red’s back line, and the fact that Keane partnered Maguire in both of England’s internationals last month.
Rashford has hit a rough patch of form for United in recent weeks. The last time he scored a goal from open play was on the first day of the Premier League season in the Red Devils 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea on August 12.
Sterling is England’s man of the moment having scored six goals in as many games in 2019, including finding the back of the net last time out in England’s 5-3 win over Kosovo.
England kick off at 7:45 tonight and the game is being aired on ITV1