Discover the latest on England’s critical friendly match with Belgium, including Gareth Southgate’s challenges and Declan Rice’s milestone.

Prior to the announcement of Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2024 23-man squad, England’s final friendly against Belgium on Tuesday night poses a significant trial for the team. Following a loss to Brazil and a rising number of injuries, Southgate has much to ponder ahead of the meeting with the Red Devils.

The Inevitability of Rice for England

Tuesday’s upcoming game carries weight for a few players who continue to vie for their place in the English team for the summer games in Germany. One such player, Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice, has his position secured, but the game holds special importance as he will be earning his 50th cap. Southgate confirmed that Rice would also have the honour of captaining England for the first time, a moment Rice describes as beyond belief.

Probable gameplay by Toney

With the team’s captain, Harry Kane, getting treatment for an ankle injury back at Bayern Munich, the spotlight is on who will fill in for him at the European Championship. Kane’s absence during the defeat to Brazil saw Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins lead the team. Now, Ivan Toney, returning from a ban due to breaking Football Association betting rules, may hope to step into the shoes of the main striker in Southgate’s formation.

Defence: A Call to Arms

The current influx of injuries has put Southgate in an unprecedented position. With key players becoming unavailable at different stages of the camp, it looks as if upcoming defenders such as Jarred Branthwaite, Ezri Konsa, and Rico Lewis may be called upon to fortify the defence against Belgium.

Belgium’s Potential Wembley Takeover

England looks to steer clear of consecutive home-ground defeats for the first time since 2013 as they confront the team ranked just below them globally. Southgate’s record against Belgium is one win in four encounters, his team having lost to them in the 2018 World Cup third-place play-off. Even so, he hopes to see his side tested in every aspect of the game by Domenico Tedesco’s evolved team.

A milestone for Southgate

While Rice’s individual accomplishments garner attention, Tuesday’s match will mark a significant occasion for Southgate. The match will be Southgate’s 150th for England, having represented the country 57 times and being at the helm for 93 matches. As expected, Southgate is deferring any personal celebrations while focusing on the preparatory work for his fifth significant football tournament as the chief.


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

Write A Comment