Belgium v England Combined XI: Could Lukaku and Kane work together?
After losing at Wembley last month, Belgium will be on a revenge mission against England on Sunday night.
The Red Devils are top of League A Group 2 and a victory at 27/20 would see them close in on the Nations League Finals.
England (2/1) must win in Leuven to keep their qualification hopes alive. As Gareth Southgate looks to remedy a defensive crisis, we’ve imagined what a combined XI of the players available could look like. That means no Eden Hazard or Harry Maguire!
GK – Thibaut Courtois
The ex-Chelsea stopper gets our number one shirt. The Real Madrid goalkeeper is one of the world’s best and keeps out England’s Jordan Pickford who is facing a real challenge to keep his shirt from Nick Pope and Dean Henderson.
RB – Kieran Trippier
Reece James played against Ireland, but his suspension means it’s Atletico’s first-choice Kieran Trippier. Trent Alexander-Arnold would have had a serious shout had it not been for injury, while Belgium’s Thomas Meunier was also in the running.
Trippier’s increased discipline under Atleti gaffer Diego Simeone nabs him the spot.
RCB – Kyle Walker
No, this is not 2018 and we’re not in Russia. Kyle Walker will have to roll back the years with England’s thin-looking defence. Maguire is suspended, while Joe Gomez and Conor Coady are sidelined.
Walker has been a figure of consistency for years. He’s the man for the job.
CB – Jason Denayer
Jason Denayer has been a mainstay for Ligue 1 Lyon in recent season’s and the former Man City youth player has become a very dependable option. Gomez or Maguire would’ve been big challengers if available.
LCB – Toby Alderweireld
Toby Alderweireld formed one of the Premier League’s toughest centre-back partnerships with former-Tottenham team-mate Jan Vertonghen. The 31-year-old’s reading of the game is superb and he isn’t shy in the tackle either.
LB – Ben Chilwell
Bukayo Saka may have won Man of the Match against the Republic of Ireland, but Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell has established himself as first in line for club and country.
The 23-year-old should start tomorrow night and that means he’s in our XI.
CM – Jordan Henderson
Big dog Jordan Henderson will skipper this side with gusto and intelligence. The Liverpool captain has emerged from the shadows of those before him to establish himself as a lynchpin for any side.
The likes of Borussia Dortmund’s Axel Witsel, Leicester City’s Dennis Praet and West Ham’s Declan Rice deserve a shout but not ahead of Hendo.
CM – Youri Tielemans
Youri Tielemans has played every minute of Leicester’s Premier League campaign so far as they sit top of the table after eight matches. And in a Belgian shirt he’s coming into his own too, becoming a player boss Roberto Martinez can rely on.
At his best Tielemans appears to glide across the park as others make it look like quicksand.
CM – Kevin De Bruyne
The number 10 shirt is yours Kevin. De Bruyne walks into our side as the creative general. England’s Jack Grealish and Belgium’s Dries Mertens are impressive but don’t have the archive or the accolades De Bruyne does.
Manchester City’s go-to-guy would have a field day with our two strikers up top.
ST – Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku is the record goalscorer for the number-one ranked nation in world football. He’s a shoe in.
The forward didn’t get his flowers while at Manchester United, but his move to Inter Milan in 2019 has seen him plunder 28 goals in 42 games. You can’t ignore Lukaku and neither can we.
ST – Harry Kane
Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho just miss out as Harry Kane takes the final position in our eleven.
Kane has transformed himself into one of the most lethal strikers’ in Europe – despite his recent injury record.
The Tottenham and England captain could drop off and allow Lukaku to run the channels or stick himself up against the opposition centre-back. His all-round game is up there with the best.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.