England get their qualifying for next year’s Euros under way in Naples, with an eye on a first win in Italy in over 60 years
Gareth Southgate is ready to unleash his attacking triad of Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka as England target their first victory in Italy for over 60 years.
Kane will break an England’s goal-scoring record if he scores in Naples, while Rashford and Saka are in outstanding form ahead of the opening European Championship qualifier.
Yet recent experiences at international level for the three forwards have been difficult, with Southgate praising their “insatiable desire” to recover from personal setbacks.
Kane has admitted he will forever be haunted by his penalty miss at last year’s World Cup, and Rashford endured a sharp decline in form after England’s last European campaign. This season, however, they are second and fourth respectively as the top scorers in the Premier League.
What is the match?
It the first fixture of England’s qualification for next year’s European Championships. They are in Group C alongside Italy, Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta
The top two from each group will qualify for the final tournament set to take place in Germany next summer.
When does the match take place?
Kick off is at 7.45pm on Thursday, 23 March.
Where is the match taking place?
The match is being hosted at Napoli’s Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.
The Stadio Diego Armando Maradona – where murals of the Argentinian are plentiful – will host the Italy vs England match CREDIT: Getty Images/Tullio Puglia
What TV channel is it on?
It is being shown on Channel 4. Coverage starts at 7pm and will be hosted by Jess Breach.
What is the team news?
Last week Southgate named his squad. There were some notable missing names, including Trent Alexander-Arnold, Raheem Sterling, Callum Wilson and Jadon Sancho.
Here’s the 26-man squad named by the England manager.
Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Newcastle United), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)
Defenders: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Maddison (Leicester City), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham United)
Forwards: Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ivan Toney (Brentford)
What did Gareth Southgate have to say when naming his squad?
Southgate bemoaned the paucity of homegrown talent but has revealed that one player in contention for a future promotion to the senior team is Nottingham Forest’s Morgan Gibbs-White.
With Chelsea’s Mason Mount pulling out with a pelvic injury, Gibbs-White is understood to be in Southgate’s thoughts. The £25 million signing has played for England at every age group from the under-16s to under-21s.
“We like Morgan, we think he’s progressing well. He’s been a player that Steve Cooper had at under-17s so he has always shown great belief in him,” said Southgate.
“He’s having a good season at Forest, we think it’s a little bit early for him with us but we’re watching him closely.”
Harry Kane can make history in Naples
Kane will make his first England appearance since the World Cup quarter-final defeat by Italy, a rare low point in a stellar career for Tottenham and his country.
The 29 year old is currently level with Wayne Rooney as England’s all-time leading goalscorer.
“I haven’t really felt the need to pick the phone up since the World Cup,” said Southgate. “It [his recovery] is there in his performances for Spurs.
“Sometimes you can busy yourself and look for a pat on the back by getting in touch with a player but I can’t take any credit for what he’s done.
“What I’ve observed is a player still super-confident, still ready to perform, still hungry to score goals. He’s obviously gone through the personal landmark with Spurs and then there’s this one that he’s going to nail with us at some point.”