Gareth Southgate set to ring the changes for England’s Nations League clash against Belgium

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Gareth Southgate set to ring the changes for England’s Nations League clash against Belgium with at least seven first-choice stars set to return to starting XI
Gareth Southgate is set to make a host of changes for the game against Belgium
Ben Chilwell, Kieran Trippier and Jordan Pickford are all set to make the team
It is likely to be a midfield two consisting of Jordan Henderson and Declan Rice
Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling will start in England’s attacking three
The third man who could join them though is up in the air for Southgate

Gareth Southgate will make wholesale changes to the team that ruthlessly swept the Republic of Ireland aside for Sunday’s do-or-die game in Belgium.

The England boss is set to make a raft of alterations for the crucial Nations League clash in Leuven, with Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, Ben Chilwell, Kieran Trippier and Jordan Pickford all expected to return to the starting XI.

Who joins Kane and Sterling in attack, however, will prove one of Southgate’s biggest calls for the the clash against the world No 1 nation.

Marcus Rashford is out with a shoulder injury but Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who scored a penalty against Ireland, wants the chance to partner Kane.

‘We have not tried it out yet,’ said the Everton forward. ‘We did for 30 minutes against Denmark when we were chasing the game.

‘We both played up there and we played a bit more direct. But he is a top player and I am pretty sure we can be compatible together.’

Jack Grealish, Mason Mount and Jadon Sancho, who all impressed in the win over Republic of Ireland, are all vying to replace Rashford.

Southgate has thus far shown a reluctance to start Grealish in competitive fixtures, but his brilliant performance at Wembley on Thursday will have boosted his chances of a place in the team against Belgium.

Mount scored the winner in last month’s win over Belgium and will be hoping to keep his place.

Jude Bellingham will travel with the team after Southgate decided to keep the Borussia Dortmund midfielder, who was originally in the Under 21 squad, with the senior squad.

The England camp believe it is more beneficial for Bellingham to be involved in a squad of this nature ahead of crucial competitive fixture rather than an Under-21 dead-rubber.

Meanwhile, Southgate has confessed that he is deeply concerned by player burn-out fears as we head into the hectic festive schedule.

The issue of player welfare was laid bare on Wednesday when Joe Gomez suffered a serious non-impact knee injury.

Southgate knows he will need his players in top condition if they are to have any hope of winning next summer’s European Championships.

‘We are in this very worrying situation on player welfare where at best players are picking up minor muscle injuries and at worst there is the danger of more serious injuries.

‘That is a concern. So we have to keep looking at every position and we just don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few months.’


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