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U.S. vs. England: England Scouting Report

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What to expect from England in Wayne Rooney’s farewell

England v Croatia: Semi Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team heads to London, to take on a talented England side that finished fourth in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The big story surrounding this match is that it will be Wayne Rooney’s 120th and final England cap.

While much focus will be on Rooney, this England side is led by world-class players such as Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.

The Three Lions come into the game with a 2-2-1 record in their last five matches. The most recent U.S.-England match came in the 2010 World Cup group stages and ended in a 1-1 draw.

England Roster:

Goalkeepers (4): Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham; 0/0), Jack Butland (Stoke City; 9/0), Alex McCarthy (Southampton; 0/0), Jordan Pickford (Everton; 13/0)

Defenders (9): Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool; 4/0), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City; 3/0), Lewis Dunk (Brighton; 0/0), Joe Gomez (Liverpool; 5/0), Michael Keane (Everton; 4/0), Luke Shaw (Manchester United; 8/0), John Stones (Manchester City; 36/2), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur (16/1), Kyle Walker (Manchester City; 43/0)

Midfielders (8): Ross Barkley (Chelsea; 24/2), Dele Ali (Tottenham Hotspur; 31/3), Fabian Delph (Manchester City; 16/0), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur; 36/3), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool; 47/0), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United; 20/2), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea; 9/0), Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur; 2/0)

Fordwards (6): Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur; 34/19), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United; 29/6), Wayne Rooney (D.C. United; 119/53), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 1/0), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City; 46/4), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth; 0/0)

It’s difficult to predict what Gareth Southgate’s starting XI will look like, as England faces Croatia three days after taking on the U.S. I am expecting a mix of first-choice players and reserves.

Southgate will likely deploy either a 4-3-3 or 4-2-1-3, with very attack-minded wide players. England will look to dominate possession and use its pace on the wings to beat the USMNT defenders.

Projected Lineup:

Each of the squad’s four goalkeepers has an excellent chance of starting, but I’m predicting that Southgate will go with the #1 Jordan Pickford. Pickford’s been rather pedestrian in the Premier League this season, with just 3 shutouts in 12 appearances.

On his best days, he’s a good distributor of the ball and an elite shot stopper with lightning quick reflexes. One of his only significant weaknesses is that he struggles with crosses.

Look for Joe Gomez to get the nod at centerback. He’s been excellent for Liverpool this season and has impressive pace for a centerback. He’s a good 1 v. 1 defender, but gets caught out of position too often.

Expect Michael Keane to partner Gomez in central defense. Keane’s been one of Everton’s best players this season and the 6’3’’ center back is unsurprisingly dominant in the air. He excels at intercepting passes, but is slow as molasses.

Trent-Alexander Arnold will likely feature at right-back. He’s a complete modern fullback with impressive pace and a good crossing ability. His only real weakness is that he loses too many aerial duels.

Luke Shaw should start at left-back. After a tough few years struggling with injury, the Manchester United man is finally healthy and playing well.

Shaw is a good tackler, who accelerates quickly, and will look to join the attack. His only serious weakness is that he occasionally overcommits to the attack, leaving his team exposed defensively.

Eric Dier seems to be the probable starter at central defensive midfield. The versatile Dier is a hard-tackler and excellent man-marker, but is rather poor on the ball.

Jordan Henderson seems to have a good chance to partner Dier in defensive midfield. Henderson has an impressive passing range and a very high workrate.

Look for Raheem Sterling to get the nod on the left-wing. He’s one of the fastest players in the Premier League, looks to cut inside from the wing, and is just as good a goalscorer, as he is a playmaker.

While Sterling is undoubtedly an elite player, his long passing could be better and he does not contribute much defensively.

Expect Jesse Lingard to feature on the right-wing. Lingard has struggled with an abductor muscle tear this season and has yet to score or assist in 8 league appearances.

He is an excellent passer and dribbler, but struggles to be consistent and puts in little defensive effort.

Wayne Rooney is perhaps the only guaranteed starter for this match. Look for him to play just underneath the lone striker. Rooney is quite slow now, but possesses great vision and an elite finishing ability.

Harry Kane seems likely to get the nod at striker. He’s a world-class player who can score in just about any way imaginable. His positioning is impeccable and helps to make up for his lack of pace. Despite being a top striker, Kane isn’t particularly athletic.

England should be heavily favored in this match and I’m predicting a 3-0 victory for the Three Lions.