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“Don’t think they’re needed in this game” – Paul Merson names Chelsea star among 2 players who shouldn’t start England’s 2022 FIFA World Cup opener against Iran

Paul Merson recently wrote that he wouldn’t start Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount and Newcastle United’s Kieran Trippier for England’s opening game in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The Three Lions are set to take on Iran on November 21 to start their campaign in Qatar. Merson believes it will be a tough game for England as Iran have a great coach in Carlos Queiroz.

In his column for Daily Star, the pundit said that he will settle for James Maddison and Trent Alexander-Arnold in place of Mount and Trippier for the opening game.

Merson wrote:

“I worry about this game because Iran have a brilliant coach in Carlos Queiroz, who will set up his team to nullify our attacking threat. Mason Mount and Trippier will certainly play in other matches but I don’t think they’re needed in this game.”

Chelsea’s Mason Mount has made 32 senior appearances for the Three Lions, scoring five goals and providing five assists.

Trippier, meanwhile, is in the discussion to start after Reece James missed the World Cup due to injury.


Paul Merson named his starting XI for England’s opening game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup without Chelsea’s Mason Mount

Chelsea star not in Paul Merson's starting lineup for England's opening 2022 FIFA World Cup clash
Chelsea star not in Paul Merson’s starting lineup for England’s opening 2022 FIFA World Cup clash

Paul Merson recently revealed how he would like to see England line up for their 2022 FIFA World Cup opener as Chelsea star Mason Mount remains absent.

He wrote:

“Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane are playing out of their skin but besides that, only Maddison is really at the top of his game. If you don’t play him here, there is no point in taking him.”

Merson further added:

“My team would be Jordan Pickford then a back-four of Trent, John Stones, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw. When it gets to the nitty gritty, it’s going to be a totally different team but if we want to win the World Cup, we have to beat the likes of Iran.”

Merson wants to pair up Jude Bellingham with Declan Rice in midfield, which would give Trent Alexander-Arnold the freedom to move forward and terrorize defenses.

“In midfield, I would pair Declan Rice with Bellingham – which would give Trent a licence to bomb forward – with Maddison just in front. Then I would play Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane. I want Southgate to pick players that are in form.”

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