Stuart Pearce believes that Gareth Southgate should start Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka ahead of Manchester City’s Phil Foden at the World Cup.
Pearce was asked by TalkSPORT to name his England starting line-up ahead of next month’s tournament in Qatar.
Southgate had to submit a 55-man provisional squad last Friday, with the final squad being announced in less than three weeks.
There are plenty of players who will already know they’re a part of Southgate’s 26-man squad.
However, for some players, the next few matches could determine their winter plans.
Pearce named his preferred starting line-up, and included a few surprise names.
Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire was part of a back four that included two injured defenders.
John Stones has only just returned to the bench for Man City after a hamstring injury, while Kyle Walker is recovering from groin surgery.
Pearce believes that Foden may miss out in Qatar, as he’s struggled to translate his club form into meaningful performances for England.
Instead, Pearce believes Southgate should start Saka ahead of Foden in England’s opener against Iran.
Saka should start ahead of Foden – Pearce
Pearce ran TalkSPORT listening through the team he would pick for next month’s tournament.
“It probably lends itself to a 4-2-3-1. In goal, (Jordan) Pickford,” Pearce said.
“Across the back four, (Kyle) Walker, (John) Stones, (Harry) Maguire, (Luke) Shaw.
“(Declan) Rice and (Jude) Bellingham (in midfield), and a front three going across behind Harry Kane will be (Bukayo) Saka, (Mason) Mount and (Raheem) Sterling.
“There’s two individuals here that probably are really near-misses in the team which will be Reece James who I think has been brilliant for Chelsea before his injury.
“And (Phil) Foden’s on the outside of it as well, I think he’s done better for Man City than he has for England and I see Saka, Mount and Sterling ahead of him.”
Both Saka and Foden are having fantastic seasons at club level.
Saka has been ever-present in an Arsenal team that find themselves top of the Premier League.
Club legend Martin Keown admitted he thinks Saka is getting better and better every time he sees him play.
His fitness right now is a minor concern after limping off in the Europa League last week, but he did start against Southampton.
Foden is one of the first names on Pep Guardiola’s team sheet, and has been prolific this season.
His six goals and three assists in the league trump Saka’s goal contributions by one.
However, his link-up play with new signing Erling Haaland has certainly stood out.
Pearce still believes Saka should start ahead of Foden for England, but both very bright futures wearing the Three Lions shirt.