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Four places are still up for grabs in England’s World Cup starting 11, insists Jamie Carragher

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher believes there are up to four places up for grabs in England’s starting XI for the Three Lions’ opening game at the World Cup in Qatar, and the next two games will determine who fills them.

The former England international, who earned 38 caps, believes the next UEFA Nations League games, which begin tonight when the Three Lions take on Italy in Milan before facing Germany on Monday, will be ‘massive’ to decide , who makes the plane.

England face Iran on November 21 at the Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan, but with the World Cup falling right in the middle of the European season, there will be no time for warm-up games after these two exciting clashes.

Luke Shaw is under pressure to keep his England place at the World Cup
Luke Shaw is under pressure to keep his England place at the World Cup
While manager Gareth Southgate has shown faith in Harry Maguire
While manager Gareth Southgate has shown faith in Harry Maguire

Luke Shaw is under pressure to retain his England place at the World Cup, while manager Gareth Southgate has shown faith in Harry Maguire

And yet, as a result of injuries and poor form, England manager Gareth Southgate has question marks over the defense and midfield that propelled his side to the Euro 2020 final just 14 months ago.

“These are hugely important games for Gareth Southgate when he thinks about what his team will be going into that World Cup,” Carragher said. Sports mail. ‘No warm-up game [this time]so it’s a strange season.

‘I think Southgate will know the seven or eight players who will start in the first game and there will be two or three positions up for grabs and it’s for the players to grab them.

– I think central defense will be interesting, also left-back and just the fact that Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw haven’t played an awful lot of football for Manchester United.

Gareth Southgate will use mstches against Italy and Germany to make important decisions
Gareth Southgate will use mstches against Italy and Germany to make important decisions

Gareth Southgate will use mstches against Italy and Germany to make important decisions

‘I don’t think we have good cover at centre-back, or we haven’t over the last few years, and at left-back Kieran Trippier has played there, who is a right-footed player, which is never easy. I think the two areas [will be interesting].’

Maguire, who established himself as first-choice partner for John Stones at Euro 2020, has retained Southgate’s confidence despite his struggles at Manchester United.

Having included the troubled centre-back in the squad, Southgate is expected to play against him and how Maguire fares with just two Premier League starts this season is likely to be critical as the competition intensifies.

AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori is also in the squad after his impressive form in Italy helped his club to the Serie A title last season, in-form Spurs defender Eric Dier is back in the fold and ever-present understudy Conor Coady is also in good form form for Everton.

Jamie Carragher believes that up to four places in the starting XI at the World Cup are up for grabs
Jamie Carragher believes that up to four places in the starting XI at the World Cup are up for grabs

Jamie Carragher believes that up to four places in the starting XI at the World Cup are up for grabs

At left back, United’s Luke Shaw and Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell are fighting. Shaw has not played in the Premier League since August 13, when he was hooked at half-time in the 4-0 defeat to Brentford. He has lost his place to Tyrell Malacia in Erik Ten Hag’s reset at Old Trafford, while Chilwell is still struggling to re-establish himself after a cruciate ligament injury forced him to miss most of last season.

Yesterday, former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson suggested that neither should be selected for England’s World Cup opener, instead Trippier opted to fill in again down the left and, in an interesting choice, put Kyle Walker in at centre-back along with the Stones.

Carragher believes there is also uncertainty in central midfield, with another Euro 2020 mainstay, Kalvin Phillips, forced to withdraw from this squad due to a long-term shoulder injury.

Declan Rice is believed to have nailed down a midfield spot despite a dip in form this season
Declan Rice is believed to have nailed down a midfield spot despite a dip in form this season

Declan Rice is believed to have nailed down a midfield spot despite a dip in form this season

Kalvin Phillips has struggled for playing time at Manchester City after a spate of injuries
Kalvin Phillips has struggled for playing time at Manchester City after a spate of injuries

Kalvin Phillips has struggled for playing time at Manchester City after a spate of injuries

Phillips, along with Declan Rice, has provided an anchor for Southgate’s side in recent years, but his injuries and lack of playing time at Manchester City mean he is now in a race against time to get on the plane to Qatar.

Rice has suffered a dip in form after a long spell of consistent excellence, and Jordan Henderson is recovering from a hamstring injury but has joined the squad following Phillips’ departure. Meanwhile, Birmingham City academy graduate and Borussia Dortmund ever-present Jude Bellingham is constantly pushing to establish himself at international level.

‘Yes, we have some quality in there in terms of [Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips]Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham, but you don’t want to be left with Declan Rice and just Bellingham, who is obviously very inexperienced at this level,’ added Carragher.

And Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse will also look to stake a claim in the next two games.

Left back Ben Chilwell is trying to re-establish himself at Chelsea after a long absence
Left back Ben Chilwell is trying to re-establish himself at Chelsea after a long absence

Left back Ben Chilwell is trying to re-establish himself at Chelsea after a long absence

One option, which former England, Liverpool and Real Madrid winger Steve McManaman prefers, is to do without two holding midfielders, reducing the pressure on that department and Bellingham, who are also going to the World Cup.

“If England play five at the back, I don’t think they necessarily need two sitting midfielders,” McManaman said. Sports mail.

‘The five at the back during the EC were five defenders, they weren’t three defenders and two strikers, they were five defenders.

‘Having five defenders and Declan Rice in the middle… I think that’s more than enough and then you can put more forwards on the pitch.

‘You would expect Declan to be in midfield, Jude is a wonderful player, he is still only a young player still learning his trade.

“Obviously he has a lot of praise, you just have to have a little patience. He’s a wonderful player; he’s going to be a superstar, but I don’t like to put too much baggage on young players.

“He will be fantastic but at the moment if Gareth wants to play five at the back and he has five defenders and Declan Rice, you might as well fill the other places with attacking midfielders and forwards.”

*Jamie Carragher and Steve McManaman spoke to Sportsmail at the Football for Change Gala 2022. The charity, chaired by Carragher, raises money to support young people in disadvantaged areas.

Jamie Carragher gathers the great and the good for the Football for Change Gala, raising £350,000

Jamie Carragher, Steve McManaman, Michael Carrick and a host of football stars and celebrities joined forces to raise £292,000 at a charity gala in aid of young people last night.

Money can’t buy parties went under the hammer at the Football for Change Gala 2022 held in Manchester on Thursday, which was supported by the Mail Online.

As well as the auction, the great and the good also made generous donations, which are expected to bring the total raised closer to £350,000, which will support young people in disadvantaged areas who are struggling to access education and employment.

Carragher, the chairman of Football for Change, had scoured his contact book to retrieve the prizes and guests. The top party was a VIP trip to the US to meet David Beckham and his Inter Miami team. There was breakfast with Everton boss Frank Lampard, which sold for £6,000 and a backstage experience at BT Sport, with Steve McManaman, which went for £10,000.

A VIP backstage pass to Glastonbury festival to meet Noel Gallagher, who performed with his High-Flying Birds band on the night, fetched £25,000 and one of the Oasis legend’s signed guitars went for £30,000.

Noel Gallagher's guitar was auctioned at the Football for Change Gala for £30,000
Noel Gallagher's guitar was auctioned at the Football for Change Gala for £30,000

Noel Gallagher’s guitar was auctioned at the Football for Change Gala for £30,000

“It’s a wonderful event,” said McManaman, the former Liverpool, Real Madrid and England winger, now a BT Sport pundit. Sports mail. ‘It’s a fantastic. It’s so busy. It’s really nice, even though the title is Football for Change, the amount of people who have turned up from different activities is really good to see.’

The charity, which is supported by Conor Coady and Trent Alexander-Arnold among many others, is already funding a life-changing project for 40 young people who traveled to the US for a sports and education programme, a training scheme for homeless youth. , and a new youth education center in Bootle.

“It’s a fantastic event,” said former England and Manchester United midfielder and coach Carrick. ‘I’m passionate about helping young people who aren’t as lucky as others, and that’s great.

Coleen Rooney and TV presenter Vernon Kay attended the Football for Change gala
Coleen Rooney and TV presenter Vernon Kay attended the Football for Change gala

Coleen Rooney and TV presenter Vernon Kay attended the Football for Change gala

‘You have to try and support events like this, it’s so important that we do that because times are going to be hard for people, it’s important that we try to stick together and help people as much as we can.’

Across the country, 711,000 young people aged 16 to 24 are currently out of education and employment, with well-founded fears that the cost of living crisis and an economic downturn are about to make life even harder.

Among 16-17-year-olds, the latest figure for so-called NEETs nationally is 64,720, of which 1,950 live in the Liverpool City Region. Two hundred of these youngsters have been identified in Sefton, the area where Carragher grew up

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