England confirmed XI to face Iran in World Cup opener with Bukayo Saka starting ahead of Foden as Southgate goes 4-3-3

BUKAYO SAKA has been given the nod as England line-up with a 4-3-3 against Iran.

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

Gareth Southgate has returned to a 4-3-3 formation

ReutersRaheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka start in attack for England[/caption]

Mason Mount and Declan Rice are set to make their World Cup debutsGetty

Kyle Walker (left) and James Maddison (right) miss out through injuryReuters

As SunSport exclusively revealed, the Three Lions boss has ditched the five-at-the-back formation after the disastrous Nations League campaign that concluded with England’s relegation.

That means Saka and Raheem Sterling line up in attack alongside captain Harry Kane, with Phil Foden missing out.

Southgate has gone with a mix of youth and experience throughout the side as young trio Declan Rice, Mason Mount and Jude Bellingham line up in midfield.

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

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It is a different story at the back however, with No1 Jordan Pickford starting in goal.

Southgate has also given Harry Maguire a show of faith, starting the Manchester United captain alongside John Stones despite his loss of form for club and country.

The experienced Kieran Trippier starts at right-back ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold, with Luke Shaw at left-back.

Kyle Walker is absent from the squad through injury, although he has trained with his team-mates over the past week.


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James Maddison’s injury appears to be more serious however – he is not involved today and is yet to train since flying to Qatar.

The Leicester star is struggling with a knee issue which forced him off during a match against West Ham days before he travelled to the Middle East.

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