SLOVENE, Sporting Alert – We already knew that Wayne Rooney was starting on the bench for England, but who has interim boss Gareth Southgate named in his starting lineup for the World Cup qualifier in Slovenia?
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I can now tell you that the Three Lions manager Southgate has made two changes from the side which beat Malta 2-0 in the last qualifier on Saturday.
Today’s starting XI sees full-back Danny Rose and midfielder Eric Dier coming into the side for Ryan Bertrand and Wayne Rooney.
Rose comes in at left-back for the injured Bertrand, who he replaced in the first half against Malta at Wembley.
The Tottenham man will link up with clubmate Kyle Walker, and will join Gary Cahill and John Stones in a back four that is protecting goalkeeper Joe Hart for this Group F match at SRC Stozice.
Chelsea centre-back Cahill is winning a landmark 50th cap for England today.
Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson will be the captain tonight with Rooney on the bench, with Dier playing alongside him.
Jesse Lingard and Theo Walcott will operate off the flanks, while Deli Alli will be tucked in behind striker Daniel Sturridge in that No. 10 slot.
Meanwhile, it is understood that Southgate’s reason for dropping Rooney was because he doesn’t believe the Manchester United captain is a midfielder.
At least, not at the moment.
Rooney will come on in the second half and is expected to feature up front where Southgate believes he’s most dangerous.
I can also report that Southgate has instructed Sturridge not to stray too far into the midfield because he needs him to stretch the backline of Slovenia as far up the pitch as possible to give the likes of Dier, Henderson and Alli more room to create scoring chances.
Interestingly, this is the same thing Rooney has been criticized for in recent times.
Goalkeeper Jan Oblak is among the highlighted starters for Slovenia.
England: Hart; Walker, Cahill, Stones, Rose; Henderson, Dier; Walcott, Alli, Lingard; Sturridge
Slovenia: Oblak; Struna, Samardzic, Cesar, Jokic; Krhin; Kurtic, Birsa, Verbic; Ilicic, Bezjak.