By Thomas Strong
Last Updated: 24th June 2018
The news coming from the England camp this morning is that Raheem Sterling will keep his place in the England vs Panama starting line-up. Ruben Loftus Cheek will also start.
England vs Panama proposed starting line-ups are listed below:
England – J Pickford, H Maguire, J Stones, K Walker , A Young, K Trippier, J Henderson, J Lingard, R Loftus-Cheek , R Sterling , H Kane
Panama – J Penedo, M Murillo, F Escobar, R Torres, E Davis, G Gomez, A Godoy, A Cooper, J Rodriguez , E Barcenas, B Perez.
There had been widespread calls to drop Sterling, who missed a number of clear opportunities against Tunisia and continued his disappointing scoring record of 21 games England games without a goal, and just two goals from his 39 caps. However, it looks as though Gareth Southgate will stick with the Manchester City forward and trust him to deliver for England against Panama.
Sterling will be well aware that he needs to deliver in this match, with Marcus Rashford looked lively during his substitute appearance against Tunisia, and Jamie Vardy waiting in the wings for an opportunity to feature in Russia.
Deli Alli has been declared unfit for the match, having suffered a thigh injury against Tunisia.
“He started training with the rest of the group and then did some more running on his own, so he’s progressing really well,” said Southgate.
“We’re really pleased with where he is at, but he wouldn’t be ready for the game tomorrow.”
Ruben Loftus Cheek will take his place, making his competitive debut midfield following a lively substitute appearance in the opening match. Loftus-Cheeks’ energy and physical presence will provide further steel to central midfield alongside Jordan Henderson. Eric Dier will start on the subs bench.
Gareth Southgate is Looking for England to replicate the flying start they got off to against Tunisia.
“To play with the freedom, energy and pace that we did was as good as anything I have seen in the tournament up to this point.” The England Manager said.
“Every team will want to improve but we hit a level that is comparable to anything that I’ve seen. The team that we selected for the first game performed as well as I can remember us playing with the ball in the first hour of the game.”
Panama coach Hernan Dario Gomez confirmed earlier this week that he will start with the eleven players who started their opening World Cup match (This is stated in the below image) – a 3-0 defeat against Belgium.
Panama performance was what you’d expect – organised, aggressive, hardworking, however eventually outclassed by a Belgium team mooted as one of the pre-tournament favourites. Los Canaleros have the ability to frustrate England as they did in their opening match against the Red Devils, however a more positive approach may be required seeing as they need a win in order to stand any chance of progressing beyond the group stages.
Panama defender Harold Cummings provided a suitably bullish response to questions surrounding today’s opposition:
“We are going there to play hard. We are going there to compete. We will do our job against any team we face.”