On The Ball

England's third attacking spot shaping up to be Southgate's biggest dilemma

England manager Gareth Southgate during training in Britain, on Oct 5, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

Raheem Sterling seemed more surprised than irritated. He had scored the winner against Croatia in England's Euro 2020 opener. He was asked if he had justified his selection. For Sterling, like Gareth Southgate, his place had not been in doubt. Outside the England camp, there had been a clamour for Jack Grealish and Phil Foden to take the spots either side of Harry Kane.

Southgate was soon vindicated. Sterling was one of the players of the tournament. When Kane started scoring, the old order reasserted their authority. Two of the spots in England's front three went the way of automatic choices.

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