Who should England start vs France?

It’s the best sort of headache, isn’t it? But, boy, is it a big one.

Gareth Southgate has a wealth of attacking brilliance to select from. With form, history and the voices of millions of people who know best to contend with, Southgate is invariably faced with a dilemma when choosing his England side, particularly in forward areas.

So, without trying to sound like we know best, here 90min takes a look at who, out of Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount, Southgate should go with to flank Harry Kane against France in their mouth-watering quarter-final clash.

Phil Foden

Phil Foden has the quality to punish a France team that sometimes leaves gaps / James Williamson – AMA/GettyImages

One of the key areas of England’s quarter-final battle with France will be in midfield and, while Phil Foden may line up as a winger, his ingenuity, knack for finding space and awareness on the break – as he has demonstrated throughout his World Cup campaign – could be integral to any potential success the Three Lions find against Les Bleus.

With advanced wingers that aren’t the best defensively and a midfield through which there are multiple avenues of success, England should be able to pick out pockets of space in threatening areas.

Who better to utilise those than Foden who, after getting his first World Cup goal against Wales in the final group game, bagged two assists against Senegal last time out?

On the teamsheet? Yes.

Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka is enjoying a sensational 2022 World Cup / Alex Livesey – Danehouse/GettyImages

The star boy is shining as bright as he ever has at the moment – he’s playing his maiden World Cup campaign as if it were his last.

His energy, directness and unwavering enthusiasm have been a vital component of England’s success in Qatar, and he’s proving unmoved on the biggest of stages. Having scored twice in the Three Lions’ opening 6-2 trouncing of Iran, the Arsenal man bagged another in his nation’s professional and composed 3-0 round-of-16 beating of Senegal.

Now England’s joint-top scorer in the competition, Bukayo Saka has proved his value to the side twice over and, against a French defence that has the tendency to get flustered, his electricity and clinical nature should certainly be favoured here.

On the teamsheet? Yes.

Raheem Stirling

Raheem Sterling is back in contention / Richard Sellers/GettyImages

Raheem Sterling’s third World Cup campaign has been an interrupted one. As a gloriously talismanic member of England’s squad in previous major tournaments and the most-capped player in the current squad, there is no doubt that, on the pitch, his professionalism would overshadow the personal trauma he has experienced of late.

With him being back in contention, Southgate has an added pain to the headache. Despite a strong performance against Iran, in which he bagged two goal involvements, though, his display against the United States shouldn’t warrant a recall to the starting XI.

Sparks have come without Sterling in the side and, with a brilliant collective showing against Senegal having just booked England’s place in the final eight, it would seem remiss of Southgate to alter the formula.

The England boss might want to call upon his trusted spine to face one of the most frightening challenges the 2022 World Cup can throw at you – but we don’t see the need to.

On the teamsheet? No.

Mason Mount

Mason Mount has underperformed at the 2022 World Cup / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

It’s been a somewhat disenchanting World Cup for Mason Mount thus far.

Traditionally one of Southgate’s favourites, the Chelsea man’s comparatively mediocre display against Iran was followed by a grimly tepid showing against the USA on matchday two; since then, he hasn’t started.

And, while being outshone by his young, energetic, thrilling colleagues, it’s not hard to see why.

On the teamsheet? No.

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