Gareth Southgate has two games remaining in which to impress the Football Association and prove that he is the right man to take charge of England on a full-time basis.

The caretaker Three Lions boss has a win and draw to his name so far, but has the chance to boost his credentials in his final two games with a victory over the Auld enemy, Scotland, on Friday and against Spain on Tuesday.

However, if his anticipated starting XI against Scotland at Wembley is anything to go by, the 46-year-old is going a funny way about making the most of his opportunity to impress the the FA’s hierarchy.

Considering the Premier League’s top scorer last campaign – Harry Kane – is set to start from the bench for England, as per the Mirror, it is certainly surprising to see Daniel Sturridge leading the line for the Three Lions, with just five goals to his name all season.

Four goals in the EFL Cup – two against Championship side Burton Albion – and a single goal against Malta, are far from the statistics fans want to be seeing ahead of an eagerly-anticipated match against rivals Scotland.

But the Liverpool striker was the hero who secured a late winner against Wales in France this summer, for England’s only win at this year’s European Championships.

Kane’s lack of match sharpness means the 23-year-old misses out to Sturridge, while Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy hasn’t found the net for the past two months – for club or country.

Meanwhile, another slight surprise is Southgate’s decision to drop Theo Walcott, with the England boss set to deploy a 4-2-3-1 that will see out-of-form skipper Wayne Rooney feature in behind Sturridge, alongside Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling to his right.

Southgate’s selections – primarily upfront – would have been completely unexpected early on in the season; when Rooney was out of form, Kane fit and Sturridge, as usual, being stuck on the bench.

But injuries, and restored faith by Southgate in under-fire Rooney, will make for an interesting line-up against a Scotland side who will be eager to kick-start their World Cup qualifying campaign, after picking up just four points from three games.

Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson will feature deep in midfield, with Tottenham full-backs Danny Rose and Kyle Walker set to also start, as the Three Lions look to consolidate their place at the top of Group F – two points clear of Lithuania.

England’s probable line-up (4-2-3-1): Hart; Walker, Cahill, Stones, Rose; Henderson, Dier; Sterling, Rooney, Lallana; Sturridge.


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