Gareth Southgate admits to playing numbers game with England

• More debutants likely in Tuesday’s friendly with Brazil at Wembley
• England manager wants to reduce number of squad withdrawals

Gareth Southgate believes the increased competition for places generated within the England squad, born of his determination to promote youth, will ensure players think twice about withdrawing from squads.

The national manager will recall Joe Hart, Kyle Walker and Gary Cahill to his starting lineup for the friendly against Brazil on Tuesday night, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek is expected to retain a place in midfield after his hugely encouraging debut against Germany. Lewis Cook and Dominic Solanke, key performers in the under-20s’ World Cup success over the summer but inexperienced at Premier League level, will hope for involvement from the bench, while Marcus Rashford, now 20, should start and Joe Gomez will gain a second cap at some stage after his substitute appearance last Friday.

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