Holland v England talking points

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England play the final away game before the World Cup in Holland on Friday.

Here Press Association Sport assesses the main topics up for discussion.

Dier’s defensive duties

Eric Dier, left, is a versatile member of Gareth Southgate's squad
Eric Dier, left, is a versatile member of Gareth Southgate’s squad (Nick Potts/PA)

Jack’s not back

In a sad but sadly familiar development, Jack Wilshere’s big international return has fallen victim of the Arsenal midfielder’s own fragile fitness. Pencilled in for his first appearance since Euro 2016, and a World Cup audition, he did not join his team-mates on the short flight to Holland. Whether he gets another opportunity is now down to a variety of variables – including his own impact between now and May, Southgate’s willingness to offer another chance and the success of those who feature in his absence this week.

Pickford or pick another?

The identity of England’s number one in Russia is, if anything, even less obvious than it was in 2010 when Rob Green, David James and Joe Hart were vying for the job. Hart has been undisputed first choice for most of his 75 caps, but his grip is loosening by the day after a poor season at West Ham. Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford are both coming up on the rails and have vocal admirers, while Southgate has thrown uncapped Burnley man Nick Pope into the mix at the eleventh hour. Pickford gets the nod this time and with it a chance to make himself the man to beat.

Are England ‘that Harry Kane team’?

Harry Kane is England's first-choice striker
Harry Kane is England’s first-choice striker (Adam Davy/PA)

Which Holland will turn up?

Having failed to qualify for the last two international tournaments and slipped to a lowly 21st in the FIFA rankings, Holland are at a crossroads. Their decline has been sharp and the star names fewer and farther between than at any point in recent memory. They do have a major name in the dugout though, with Ronald Koeman freshly installed following his sacking by Everton. He faces a major rebuilding job and will have to show he has not been scarred by his own struggles at Goodison Park. At least in England he is beginning against familiar opponents.

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