England confirm XI to face Iran in World Cup opener, Bukayo starting ahead of Saka Foden as Southgate moves to 4-3-3

Bukayo Saka has been approved as the England line-up against Iran with a 4-3-3.

Gareth Southgate had some big decisions to make ahead of England’s World Cup opener at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Gareth Southgate returns to a 4-3-3 formation

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Gareth Southgate returns to a 4-3-3 formation
Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka open the attack for England

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Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka open the attack for EnglandCredit: Reuters
Mason Mount and Declan Rice set to make World Cup debuts

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Mason Mount and Declan Rice set to make World Cup debutscredit: Getty
Kyle Walker (left) and James Madison (right) are out with injuries

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Kyle Walker (left) and James Madison (right) are out with injuriesCredit: Reuters

The Three Lions boss has abandoned the five-at-the-back formation following a disastrous Nations League campaign that ended with England’s relegation.

That means Saka and Raheem Sterling join the attack alongside captain Harry Kane, with Phil Foden missing.

Southgate has gone in with a mix of youth and experience in the form of young trio Declan Rice, Mason Mount and Jude Bellingham in midfield.

Each is appearing in his first World Cup, as is Arsenal star Saka.

It’s a different story from the back though, with No. 1 Jordan Pickford starting in goal.

Southgate has also given a show of faith to Harry Maguire, making his Manchester United captain’s debut alongside John Stones despite poor form for club and country.

Veteran Kieran Trippier starts at right-back ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold, while Luke Shaw is at left.

Kyle Walker is absent from the team due to injury, although he trained with his teammates last week.

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James Maddison’s injury appears to be more serious – he hasn’t featured today and is yet to train since flying to Qatar.

The Leicester star has been battling a knee problem which forced him to miss a match against West Ham just days before his trip to the Middle East.

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