Kyle Walker to start for England against Iran

1 week ago

Kyle Walker is set to start England's first World Cup game against Iran on Monday, 90min understands.

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The Manchester City defender has been a key cog for England at recent international tournaments, playing at both right back and in a back three at the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020.

He had been included in Gareth Southgate's squad for Qatar despite struggling for fitness in the weeks leading up to the tournament. The 32-year-old last played at the start of October in City's 6-3 victory over Manchester United and has been in a race against time to be fit for the start of the World Cup ever since.

However, he was included in England's 26-player squad and 90min understands he is in line to start against Iran. Walker has surprised the Three Lions coaching staff, who did not think he would be ready in time.

His return to fitness will influence Southgate's formation selection. Against an Iran side England are expected to beat, Walker could feature in his regular right back position, though he faces competition from the in-form Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

John Stones will likely pair up with Harry Maguire in central defence with Luke Shaw on the left, though questions remain over which attackers Southgate will select.

Captain Harry Kane will undoubtedly start, with Raheem Sterling also looking to replicate his Euro 2020 form after a disappointing start to life with Chelsea. Bukayo Saka, Mason Mount and Phil Foden are among those battling for a starting XI spot.

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