The England Lineup That Should Start Against Belgium

Gareth Southgate named an experimental England lineup for their 'friendly' tussle with Wales last time out, but the Three Lions were still able to come out with a comfortable 3-0 win.

Southgate now has a number of decisions to make ahead of the Nations League game against Belgium on Sunday after a number of players grasped their opportunities and impressed against Wales. Sunday's game will be a good test to determine the progress made by this England team as they take on...well, the number one ranked country in the world.

Tests don't come much bigger than that, do they? Here, we take a look at the lineup Southgate could pick for Sunday's game...

1. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Coady was very impressive against Wales | Pool/Getty Images

Jordan Pickford (GK) - Nick Pope took his chance on Thursday as he put in an assured display against Wales, coming away with a clean sheet as well. But Southgate has continued to show faith in Everton's Pickford despite the high-profile mistakes he has made and is expected to recall the shot-stopper for the important game on Sunday. Should he fail to deliver however, Southgate could well turn to either Pope or Dean Henderson - both of whom are ready and waiting.

Joe Gomez (CB) - Gomez endured a very difficult game for Liverpool before joining up with the national side, starting the 7-2 (yes, it really was actually 7-2) defeat to Aston Villa. While he was generally solid against Wales, he did make a number of clumsy mistakes. However, he is expected to keep his place after being substituted on 58 minutes to rest him. Southgate will be looking for a more well-rounded display as any mistakes will likely be punished by a ruthless Belgium side.

Conor Coady (CB) - Eric Dier will be pushing for a starting spot, but after an excellent display last time out, why should Southgate take Coady out of the starting lineup? The centre-back understands the system and while it was only his second cap, he was even handed the armband in the second half. This further highlights his influence on this England side and the role he plays as a leader - something which the Three Lions need more of. A captain's performance and a goal as well against Wales, what more could Southgate want?

Harry Maguire (CB) - It's been a difficult start to the season for Man Utd captain Maguire, but the international break came at the perfect time for him. He didn't feature against Wales, but could return to the starting lineup for the game against Belgium. The chance to wear the England kit and feature for his country could be just what he needs to kickstart his campaign.

2. Wing-Backs/Midfielders

Alexander-Arnold will be looking to exploit the gaps in the Belgium defence | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Trent Alexander-Arnold (RWB) - With the way Belgium set up, there will be space on both flanks which Alexander-Arnold could exploit. Southgate has preferred to go with Kieran Trippier, but with Ben Chilwell out, he could turn to the Liverpool man on Sunday. With the three defenders providing extra solidity at the back, Alexander-Arnold will be able to get forward and support attacks without leaving his defence exposed.

Jordan Henderson (CM) - Henderson wasn't even included in the squad for the Wales friendly, but could jump straight into the starting lineup for this one. Southgate will be wary of his fitness levels, considering he has only recently returned from injury, and it is very unlikely he will be able to last the full 90 minutes. But Henderson's composure on the ball and ability to dictate play against top opposition is exactly what the Three Lions need in the centre of the park.

Declan Rice (CM) - Wasn't involved against Wales, but is expected to be recalled on Sunday and will be tasked with closing off the spaces in the centre of the park to prevent the likes of Kevin De Bruyne from being able to influence the game. Not only does Rice have the awareness to sniff out danger, he also has the ability as well as the composure to get his side playing on the front foot. He'll have a vital role to play on Sunday.

Kieran Trippier (LWB) - Bukayo Saka enjoyed a bright debut, but Southgate is expected to go with the more experienced Trippier on the left with Chilwell out...even if he may not be the most popular decision. Trippier often looked lost on the left and was caught out of position during the last round of international fixtures, but Southgate will be looking to him to step up and deliver at left wing-back.

3. Forwards

Sancho is available for selection against Belgium | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Jadon Sancho (RW) - Missed the tussle with Wales after breaching government guidelines, but Southgate has confirmed that both he and Tammy Abraham are available for selection against Belgium. The Manchester United wi.....wait, no, Borussia Dortmund winger (ah, that's right) will be hoping to make a positive impression on his return to the side. His pace, skill and movement could make him a real threat against a Belgium backline which isn't the quickest.

Marcus Rashford (LW) - Jack Grealish doesn't deserve to miss out on a starting spot against Belgium after an outstanding display last time out, but he will likely make way for Marcus Rashford MBE - that has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Southgate will be looking to freshen his attack up, while y'know, he also seemingly isn't really the biggest fan of Grealish despite his performances. But like Sancho, Rashford will be looking to expose the Belgium backline with his pace and movement.

Harry Kane (ST) - Dominic Calvert-Lewin just can't stop scoring at the moment, can he? The only problem for him, however, is that he is competing against the England captain for a starting spot. Oh, and Kane is also in fine form as well, having managed eight goals and seven assists in just eight games so far this term. That's just ridiculous.

For more from Adam Aladay, follow him on Twitter!

Source : 90min