How England could line up against Ivory Coast as Gareth Southgate looks to make huge changes – and Rice may be captain

GARETH SOUTHGATE promised to ring the changes as England prepare to take on Ivory Coast – and Declan Rice could be given the captain's armband.

The Three Lions fought from a goal down to beat Switzerland 2-1 at Wembley on Saturday evening.

And Southgate could field a nearly-entirely-different XI for Tuesday night's clash in North London.

Harry Kane is set to be rested after equalling Sir Bobby Charlton's England goals tally with the winning penalty.

And, despite Harry Maguire being expected to be involved on Tuesday, West Ham star Rice could take the armband from Kane.

Southgate is expected to make ten or even 11 changes to his Three Lions team for Ivory Coast as he experiments with his squad ahead of this winter's World Cup.


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Ahead of the game, Southgate confirmed: "We'll make changes. We think that's the right thing to do.

"We want to keep all of the squad involved. I think that has been a strength for us.

"Players who come in and perform well at the level need to feel that we've got the confidence in them to go into any game.

"We're also at a stage of the season where their load is heavy and we've got to make sure we try and navigate that in the best way possible."

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As part of the changes, Southgate hinted he could give the captain's armband to Rice with Kane set to be rested.

Southgate claimed: "[Rice] is right amongst [group of potential captains] despite his age.

"What I have seen this season is the confidence that he has gained from his experience last summer.

"I think he had a huge impact on the game when he came on.

"A really mature performance, strong, breaks the game up so well, but now has more confidence to drive with the ball and bring it forward as well.

"Without a doubt he has all the attributes to be a captain.”

Southgate also revealed he hoped Emile Smith Rowe and John Stones would be fit to play a role after missing out on the 2-1 win over Switzerland through injury.

The boss continued: "With John, he just felt a bit of tightness before the game. We're certain it's not too serious.

"It could be that he's OK before Tuesday but we didn't really have time before the game to assess properly.

"There was no point in taking a risk at that moment and we will find out a bit more.

"Emile did some work with the fitness team today so there's a chance he'll do some of the training session.

"He is the only other one we have got any flags on."

However, it seems unlikely Southgate will pick Mason Mount and Conor Gallagher together after bemoaning their lack of defensive presence and hinting he wouldn't look to recreate the experiment.

The Three Lions chief said: "We feel that Mount and Gallagher are very good at pressing and are two attacking 8s.

"But we know that that system can leave you a bit vulnerable to the switches to the opposite full-back and the Swiss worked that out very well.

"But we had an idea of what we wanted to do, and although we would have liked to have Bukayo Saka and a couple of the other wing-backs to look at that, I still think it was worth seeing."

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