Friday 16 November 2018

England 1990 v England 2018: Who makes the combined XI?

Shilton or Pickford? Lineker or Kane? Who would make your XI?

(Peter Robinson/EMPICS Sport and Tim Goode/PA)
(Peter Robinson/EMPICS Sport and Tim Goode/PA)

By Alistair Mason, Press Association

Gareth Southgate’s England team are the first to make it to a World Cup semi-final since Bobby Robson led the Three Lions there in 1990.

But how many of the team from Italia 90 would make it into today’s side? Here’s a combined line-up put together from the starting XI that played against West Germany in Turin and Southgate’s likely team against Croatia.

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Here’s a closer look at the players who made the cut.

1. Jordan Pickford

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(Aaron Chown/PA)

While Peter Shilton was one of England’s best ever between the sticks, at 40 he was past his peak at Italia 90. He also failed to save any of West Germany’s penalties in the shoot-out, so the ever-improving Pickford, named man of the match against Sweden, gets the nod.

2. Kieran Trippier

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(Adam Davy/PA)

Trippier has been England’s breakout performer of the tournament – a constantly threatening outlet on the right and a revelation on set-pieces. Harry Kane’s corners of Euro 2016 have been well and truly consigned to history.

3. Stuart Pearce

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(Ross Kinnaird/EMPICS)

The chest-thumping heartbeat of many an England side, Pearce edges out Ashley Young in part because he wouldn’t need to keep cutting inside to cross with his right foot. And, despite what happened in Turin, he was actually pretty good at penalties too.

4. John Stones

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(Tim Goode/PA)

Stones was recently described as one of the best defenders in the world by none other than Lothar Matthaus, who of course was captain of the West Germany team that beat England in 1990. That’s more than enough to justify his place.

5. Terry Butcher

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(Ross Kinnaird/EMPICS)

Every defence needs the brawn to go with the brains and Butcher, while more than just a lion-hearted bruiser, would certainly provide that. The captain of the 1990 team just sneaks ahead of Harry Maguire.

6. Kyle Walker

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(Tim Goode/PA)

Eyes were raised when Gareth Southgate converted Walker from a right-back to a centre-half. But Tripper’s form on the right means he hasn’t been missed there, while Walker’s pace has been a hugely reassuring asset for England in the middle – not unlike his namesake Des in 1990.

7. Jordan Henderson

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(Tim Goode/PA)

The 1990 team is somewhat lacking in more defensive-minded midfielders, so Henderson is a shoo-in. His calm authority and combative spirit would be invaluable, but he’d also be able to set the table nicely for the two flair men in front of him.

8. Paul Gascoigne

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(Ross Kinnaird/EMPICS)

If there’s one thing the 2018 team lacks it is the sheer creative magic of a player like Gazza. He provided the X factor in 1990 and would likely be the first name on the team sheet for the combined XI.

9. Gary Lineker

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(Ross Kinnaird/EMPICS)

Not even Harry Kane can dislodge Lineker from the number nine position (even though he wore the number 10 shirt). One of the nation’s greatest ever goalscorers and a real leader on the pitch, he would walk into most England XIs.

10. Harry Kane

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(Owen Humphreys/PA)

It has been said more than once that the best number 10 in the current England team is Harry Kane – in this XI he gets the chance to prove it behind Lineker. It’s a different role than he’s used to, but he has looked very comfortable dropping deep and forcing play himself in Russia.

11. Chris Waddle

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(Ross Kinnaird/EMPICS)

Like Raheem Sterling, Waddle struggled to get the goals he probably should have done at international level, but he possessed the sort of skills rarely seen in England players. Just don’t ask him to take a penalty.

Press Association

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