Iceland v England – BBC Sport


Gareth Southgate says he would have no hesitation starting any of the uncapped players for England’s Nations League opener in Iceland.

There are seven uncapped players in the squad, including midfielder Phil Foden and forward Mason Greenwood.

England boss Southgate would not say if Manchester City’s Foden or Manchester United’s Greenwood would start.

But he added: “They’re another two of a group of very exciting young players.”

Dean Henderson, Conor Coady, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Kalvin Phillips and Jack Grealish are also hoping to win their first caps over the next few days.

After facing Iceland behind closed doors in Reykjavik on Saturday, England are away to Denmark in the Nations League on Tuesday.

“Everything we’ve seen on the training pitch, I’d have no hesitation in starting any of the players that have been with us,” added Southgate.

“That’s why they’re picked in the first place, but you’re never certain how they’ll adapt and fit in with the group.”

Grealish is a doubt for England’s first game since winning 4-0 away to Kosovo in a Euro 2020 qualifier on 17 November 2019.

The Aston Villa captain has been nursing a knock although Southgate said it was “not too serious”.

Iceland need an ‘unrealistic day’

This is England’s first game with Iceland since the Three Lions suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Euro 2016.

Iceland boss Erik Hamren said his side would need another “unrealistic day” if there was to be a repeat of four years ago.

“In football, not every time you meet is it realistic, Iceland showed that versus England at that time in the Euros,” he said.

Iceland celebrate scoring against England at Euro 2016
Roy Hodgson’s England suffered a humiliating exit from Euro 2016 when they were beaten 2-1 by Iceland

“A lot of smaller teams in the world have shown that to bigger teams so I am hoping it will be an unrealistic day tomorrow also.”

Hamren, who has been in charge of Iceland since 2018, has faced England three times previously, losing two but winning his most recent match against the Three Lions as Sweden boss in November 2012.

More goals for England?

  • England have scored 46 goals in their past 13 matches (W10 D1 L2) – their 38 goals during 2019 was their most in a year since 1966 (also 38) and bettered in only one previous calendar year, when they netted 39 in 1908.
  • Iceland are looking to become only the third team in the past 15 years to win consecutive competitive matches against England, after Croatia (2006-07) and Belgium (2018).
  • England striker Harry Kane has been directly involved in 16 goals in his past six matches for the Three Lions (10 goals, 6 assists).
  • Midfielder Kalvin Phillips is looking to become the first Leeds United player to win an England cap since Alan Smith in March 2004.

Pick your England Nations League XI

Choose your first-choice England XI for the upcoming games and share it with your friends.

Choose your first-choice England XI for the upcoming games and share it with your friends.





BBC