Gareth Southgate to hand full England debuts to three players vs Belgium amid injury crisis


Gareth Southgate will hand full England debuts to three players in Tuesday’s international friendly against Belgium, it has been reported.

The Three Lions boss is dealing with an injury crisis that has seen four players, including Harry Kane and Kyle Walker, withdraw from the squad after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Brazil.

Southgate already had several injury issues to deal with ahead of the international break, while Bukayo Saka pulled out of the squad before the Brazil clash.

Doubts over Jordan Henderson’s fitness led to the call-up of Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, who made his senior Three Lions debut in the latter stages against Selecao.

Now, according to talkSPORT, several other players could follow suit in making their full debuts for England against Belgium at Wembley.

It is claimed that Brentford’s Ivan Toney and Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa will be given the task of deputizing for Kane and Walker as they look to further stake their claim for selection for Euro 2024.

And Mainoo is also said to be in line for his full debut after impressing Southgate during his cameo against Brazil.

Meanwhile, Jarrod Bowen and Lewis Dunk are among the other players who are expected to play a role against Belgium.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Southgate gave his verdict on Mainoo’s chances of starting against the 2018 World Cup semi-finalists: “Definitely Kobbie has a chance.

“He seems very calm. You can see he is taking everything in. Talking to him tactically, he seems able to take all those concepts on. A lot of young players now, with their academy education, can do all that.

“You can see his comfort with the ball and receiving in tight areas. There are a lot of steps being taken in a very short period, but you saw in the brief cameo the other day some of the qualities he has.”

“Sometimes, with the really young ones, they are not even thinking about that. It is all flowing and maybe then, as you get a bit older, you start to think about it a bit more.

“It is a beautiful, innocent moment when he is just in the flow and lapping up the opportunities as they come.”

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