On 21st November, England kick off their World Cup finals campaign against Iran, which will be a game that they are firm favourites to win.
Hoddle said “it’s all about the first match, you have to be flexible, most countries will be, looking internally at the injuries, and players with perhaps not enough match practice, perhaps Gareth may go for a three at the back but be more offensive”.
The former AS Monaco playmaker said that he expects Iran to be very defensive and “obstinate” to try and cope with England’s attacking threat. Hoddle says that it will be an awkward match, and that Southgate will be slightly wary of not getting hit on the counter, but will expect to win the game due to the offensive talents that the Three Lions possess.
According to Hoddle, Southgate’s squad selection has allowed for tactical versatility when needed to face different types of opposition.
When asked who he thinks Southgate will start between Harry Kane and Callum Wilson for the game against Iran, following Spurs boss Antonio Conte mentioning that the Three Lions captain is “tired” Hoddle said: “He (Southgate) will play Kane, as the first game in a tournament is massive, I don’t care who you’re playing”.
Interestingly, Hoddle pointed back to 1998, saying how important it felt to beat Tunisia in England’s opening game, after the pressure England came under when they failed to win their opening game of the 1986 World Cup when the 65-year-old was playing for the Three Lions.
Spurs forward Kane has somewhat gone under the radar this season due to Erling Haaland’s form for Manchester City, as the 29-year-old has found the back of the net 12 times in 15 Premier League appearances.