Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold will make his senior England debut in the friendly against Costa Rica with Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland guaranteed a start, manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed.
The 19-year-old full-back has forced his way into the squad with a string of impressive performances for his club and will be rewarded with his first cap.
And Southgate has left the door open for him to start their first World Cup group match against Tunisia after admitting places are still up for grabs in the starting line-up.
“Jack Butland plays in goal and we will make a lot of changes,” said the England boss.
“At some point Trent Alexander-Arnold will get a debut. I have no qualms (about starting him first World Cup game). That is why he is here.
“I have not a player in the squad I wouldn’t think twice about putting into the opening game.
“He is here on merit, his quality has been top and he’s settled in with the group really well. It is a huge moment for him of course but well deserved.
“There are definitely places up for grabs for the first game of the tournament.
“There are a couple of places that always as a manager you are looking at who your better players are but then form and physical conditional means it always evolves, a football team is a moving, living beast.
“Everyone has to stay on their toes all the time, there is no room for complacency in training or slipping of standards.
“I am not sitting two weeks before a game and saying ‘That’s it, you’re comfortable as you’re in’.”
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