England XI vs Senegal: Our writers pick starting line-up for World Cup last 16 tie

England play Senegal in the World Cup last 16 at Al Bayt Stadium after securing top spot in Group B.

A more pleasing performance in the 3-0 victory over Wales sets Gareth Southgate’s side up nicely for what he has described as the “big business” of the tournament in Qatar.

But Southgate has a number of selection dilemmas with Marcus Rashford representing a player reborn following his brace on Tuesday and Phil Foden making his case to start again after also getting on the scoresheet.

There is plenty to ponder, with Raheem Sterling, Kieran Trippier, Mason Mount and Bukayo Saka all under consideration to return to the starting line-up.

Here is how our writers would line up against Senegal on Sunday:

Miguel Delaney, chief football writer

Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Henderson, Bellingham; Saka, Kane, Rashford

England are going to need a team that allows them to match the midfield three and the intensity of Senegal’s pressing; the patience to open their backline and - consequently - some intricacy to actually manage. That’s a lot to balance, which is why I have gone for this line-up.

I’d have Foden in there straight away if it wasn’t for the Senegalese midfield, but I think England absolutely have to have three in this game, while Bukayo Saka is required to protect that left flank where Senegal attack most.

Ben Burrows, sports editor

Pickford; Walker, Stones Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Henderson, Bellingham; Foden, Kane, Sterling

The temptation would be to go in unchanged after such a resounding second-half performance but, while dropping someone who just scored twice feels controversial, I would put Raheem Sterling back in if it were my choice. Sterling has been one of Southgate's England most reliable performers, to leave him out of the biggest game so far would be bold. Rashford should play obviously, but perhaps as an impact sub rather than from the start, something England may very well need against a step-up of opposition in Senegal. I would stick with Kyle Walker, Jordan Henderson and Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka another who can be used from the bench should England need it.

Mark Critchley, northern football correspondent

Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Bellingham, Rice, Henderson; Saka, Kane, Foden

As long as he is fit enough to handle the turnaround then I'd keep Walker at right-back to deal with Ismaila Sarr. The third midfield spot is a close call between Mount, Henderson and Phillips depending on what balance you want to strike. I'd just about start Henderson, free up Bellingham, and you can then adjust accordingly depending on how the games goes. Out wide, it is Foden left in the role he predominantly plays at club level and Saka right. That's arguably unfair on Sterling and definitely unfair on Rashford, but he's an option to come on if the game becomes stretched.

England's Kyle Walker battles for possession of the ball with Wales' Daniel James (PA)
England's Kyle Walker battles for possession of the ball with Wales' Daniel James (PA)

Richard Jolly, senior football correspondent

Pickford; Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Henderson, Rice, Bellingham; Saka, Kane, Rashford.

Kyle Walker probably isn't ready to start so Kieran Trippier gets the nod at right-back. In midfield, preferring Jordan Henderson to Mason Mount gives Jude Bellingham more freedom to get forward. In the front three, Marcus Rashford is in better form than Raheem Sterling. Phil Foden can be the super-sub.

Jack Rathborn, assistant sports editor

Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Henderson, Rice, Bellingham; Foden, Kane, Sterling

There’s enough credit in the bank for Raheem Sterling with Gareth Southgate to come straight back in, even if Marcus Rashford makes for a compelling case. But the Manchester United forward remains a brilliant weapon off the bench and might make more sense against France - should both sides progress. Kyle Walker’s recovery skills make him worth the fitness gamble here and Mason Mount, while fresh, is too out of sorts, pushing me towards the more cautious option in Jordan Henderson in the hope Jude Bellingham is released.

England's Raheem Sterling in action against the USA (Associated Press)
England's Raheem Sterling in action against the USA (Associated Press)

Lawrence Ostlere, assistant sports editor

Pickford; Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Phillips, Rice, Bellingham; Rashford, Kane, Foden

Kyle Walker is not going to be able to start five successive games in 20 days after just returning from groin surgery, so this is the best moment for him to rest if England are to go deep. Kalvin Phillips looked really sharp in his cameo against Wales; he adds protection and control and he frees England’s best player, Jude Bellingham. Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling are rightly knocking on my door asking why they’re not starting – the stodgy 0-0 with USA was hardly their fault – but having an in-form goalscorer like Marcus Rashford is important, and Phil Foden is just magical.

Alex Pattle, sports writer

Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Bellingham, Mount; Foden, Kane, Rashford

I feel like this line-up retains most of the best performers from the win against Iran, while also rewarding a couple of those who came in for the victory over Wales, and maintaining balance. Saka is maybe unlucky not to start but is a great option off the bench, while Henderson shouldn’t be necessary from the start here - but is a possibility if Mount again fails to be effective.

England's Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring (Associated Press)
England's Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring (Associated Press)

Kieran Jackson, sports writer

Pickford; Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Bellingham; Sterling, Foden, Rashford; Kane

Assuming all goes to plan, it’ll be France in the quarters and that requires special treatment for Kylian Mbappe. Resting Kyle Walker for that battle is one such move, with Kieran Trippier to come back in against Senegal. Further forward, with Southgate’s attacking options all flourishing, Marcus Rashford should start on the right with Phil Foden moving into the No 10 role - and Raheem Sterling starting from the left. Tough on Bukayo Saka, but his impact will be vital from the bench.

Karl Matchett, sports writer

Pickford; Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Henderson, Bellingham; Sterling, Kane, Rashford

Jude has to be given free rein to join the attack, which means Henderson in as the second midfielder at the moment, but the big call in the wide areas has to play against what the Senegal full-backs have been doing: Sabaly (right-back) has been staying very high and wide, super aggressive on and off the ball, so England will benefit from exploiting or preventing that - which means Sterling starting again. On the right it's more open as Diallo and Jakobs have been decent the last two games and are more reserved, but with Rashford the most confident-looking of the three options right now, I'll go with him from kick-off. Southgate's biggest positive right now is the number of in-form attackers he can look to off the bench, regardless of who starts.