Malta vs England Predicted Lineups: Is Jack Grealish going to play?

England take on Malta on Friday night in the third match of their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign. After two opening wins, Gareth Southgate’s men are well on their way to qualifying for next summer’s tournament in Germany and a win away at Malta tomorrow night would only strengthen their position in the group.

As things stand, the Three Lions are three points clear of Italy Group C and considering they have already beaten the Italians away from home on matchday one, they are in pole position as things stand.

With 24 teams now qualifying for the tournament, the top two sides of each group automatically qualify for the European Championships meaning England would need to dip below Italy and one other team to put their place at the tournament in jeopardy.

Their opponents on the night, Malta, are currently rock bottom of Group C as things stand and they would need a minor miracle to qualify for the tournament. They are the lowest-ranked team in the group and last tasted success in a qualifying match back in 2021 when they beat Cyprus at home. The match should be a foregone conclusion but England will still need to guard against complacency.

The match is due to kick off at 19:45 UK time and viewers will be able to watch all of the action unfold live on Channel 4.

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For the first time in a long time, England have three fantastic goalkeepers to pick from in Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale. For this particular fixture, however, Pope is unavailable through injury andΒ  Fraser Forster has been drafted into the squad as a replacement.

In reality, though, Southgate’s decision will be between Ramsdale and Pickford. Ramsdale had a great season at Arsenal but Pickford still seems to be in favour with the England boss which means the Everton goalkeeper is likely to start in goal for this one.


Defensively, Lewis Dunk is the only player in the original 24-man squad to have withdrawn with the Brighton defender suffering from an unspecified injury. Levi Colwill has been drafted into the senior squad to replace his Brighton teammate although he is unexpected to feature against Malta.

Southgate raised eyebrows once again when he chose to select Harry Maguire in his squad. The Manchester United captain spent the majority of last season on the bench and found himself way down the pecking order by the end of the campaign with Victor Lindelof getting the nod over him when Linsandro Martinez picked up a season-ending injury.

Despite that, Southgate has stuck by his man and he is expected to start this one alongside John Stones at the back, providing the Manchester City man is well enough after the treble celebrations. Kieran Trippier and Luke Shaw are likely to start at fullback.


In midfield, Southgate will have to do without Jude Bellingham who is still recovering from the injury that kept him out of Borussia Dortmund’s final Bundesliga game of the season. The teenager, who has recently signed for Real Madrid, has become a key cog in Southgate’s England side and will be difficult to replace.

Given the opposition, Southgate may elect to play Eberechi Eze from the start on Friday night. The Palace midfielder is uncapped but is coming into this one in fine form after a stellar season at Selhurst Park. Declan Rice seems like a certainty to play, leaving the likes of Kalvin Phillips, Connor Gallagher and Jordan Henderson to battle it out for the third midfield spot.


With Ivan Toney suspended, Southgate doesn’t have too many up top in terms of the central striker if he wanted to rest Harry Kane ahead of the game against North Macedonia on Monday night. Callum Wilson is one option as is Marcus Rashford who may be preparing for a full season up front for Manchester United in 2023/24 if the club can’t secure Kane’s services.

On the wings, it would be a miracle if Jack Grealish plays after his antics this week meaning Bukayo Saka will likely play from the right and Rashford from the left if Kane does indeed start up top.

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