Eric Dier : England's midfielder wary of Lithuania threat

Apr 07, 2017, 02:15

The former Middlesbrough and England U-21 manager also revealed that the winning mentality which exists in Jones' English set-up is something which he wants to instill in his own squad. The likely pairing of John Stones and Michael Keane have a grand total of 17 appearances under their belt, Keane having made his debut in midweek.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's Group F qualifier at home to Lithuania, the England midfielder was asked if a largely young and untested group of players might peak in the finals in Russian Federation in 2018.

The defeat to Iceland at the Euros was a devastating low for the nation and, prior to the 1-0 loss to Germany, he said England need to make big changes if they are ever to challenge at the top level.

England did concede a goal in the autumn qualifiers and the best bet is to look for a correct score with a home win to nil.

Gibson is already well known by many in the England squad. Coleman and his men have failed to get off to the start most would have expected, only picking up one win and drawing the last three means they now sit outside qualification territory in third. In the Euros we saw that on the day England were not ready.

Ross Barkley could see some game time, especially with no Wayne Rooney.

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Michail Antonio's West Ham contract talks at a standstill
While the top four hopes may be waning for Arsenal, they still have to try to finish as high as possible in the table. Within hours of the result, the West Ham board had issued a statement declaring "100 per cent faith" in the Croat.

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However, Oliver Kay of The Times warns that Southgate may revert to a back four for the game on Sunday, but he declares himself a fan of the three-man central defence. We have to get off the island and learn from elsewhere.

Lithuania come into the match as huge underdogs but have no injury concerns or players out with suspensions. Gone is the 4-4-2 or the 4-2-3-1. The trio also provided a risky attack when England had possession of the ball.

Setkus could prove to be the shield that guards Lithuania's chances of gaining a result and avoiding a humiliation on Sunday.

Lukas Podolski says England have evolved from a "rugby style" under Gareth Southgate, with less emphasis on the physicality that defined the Three Lions in the past.

Southgate was keen to praise the contribution of Jermain Defoe, who is back in the squad at the age of 34 after impressing with the Premier League's bottom club, Sunderland.

England did not score, of course, but Southgate was right to try a different system in a friendly and there was distinct promise in the experiment, with the visitors matching Germany for shots and beating them for possession and corners. Instead, he insisted, the job of making new players feel welcome was a collective one.

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