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UEFA Nations Cup: England manager Gareth Southgate heads into the final two games before the World Cup finals knowing he has to…

UEFA Nations Cup: England manager Gareth Southgate heads into the final two games before the World Cup finals knowing he must quickly regain form in a team without a win in their last four games. Follow UEFA Nations Cup updates on InsideSport.IN

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UEFA Nations Cup: Gareth Southgate URGES England to return to form ahead of FIFA 2022 World Cup

Friday’s Nations League meeting with Italy at Milan’s San Siro Stadium and then Monday’s visit of Germany at Wembley Stadium are the last two chances Southgate will have to restore some of the positive vibes around his team.

England and Southgate were jeered and booed off the pitch in June after collapsing to a humiliating 4-0 home defeat to Hungary, which followed draws with the Italians and Germans and an away loss to the Hungarians.

Some have written off those Nations League results as an inevitable product of playing in a lesser competition at the end of a long season, but Southgate’s more serious problems lay in the lack of form of several of his regular starters.

Manchester United defenders Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw were key components of the side that reached the final of Euro 2021, but both have seen their disappointing form cost them places in the starting lineups at their club.

Southgate has shown faith in the pair by naming them in his squad for this month’s matches, but two other Manchester United players – striker Marcus Rashford and winger Jadon Sancho – have not been included.

UEFA Nations Cup: Gareth Southgate URGES England to return to form ahead of FIFA 2022 World Cup

Chelsea left-back Ben Chilwell, the most obvious replacement for Shaw, has made just one Premier League start for the London club, while central midfielder Kalvin Phillips has also had limited minutes and is missing out with an injury.

Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, who has missed his club’s last three games in all competitions through injury, has been given a late call-up to replace Phillips.

“Obviously we have a number of players … who don’t play a lot of minutes with their club. It’s not ideal but we feel they have been and can be important players for us. It’s not a perfect situation , but there is still a lot of football to be played before Qatar. Southgate said.

Manchester City winger Jack Grealish is another player whose subdued form at club level will be an issue, while the injury to first-choice goalkeeper Jordan Pickford adds another element of uncertainty to Southgate’s side.

UEFA Nations Cup: Gareth Southgate URGES England to return to form ahead of FIFA 2022 World Cup

The hope for the England manager is that Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane in attack will provide enough firepower to ensure England do not go to Qatar on a six-game winless run.

At the back, Southgate has recalled Eric Dier after a solid start to the season for the Tottenham Hotspur centre-back who had mostly played in midfield for his country.

To give England any kind of momentum, Southgate needs his young midfielders – Declan Rice, Mason Mount and Jude Bellingham – to bring the energy that was missing in June’s games.

The deadline to name squads for the World Cup is November 13 – the tournament begins seven days later and England’s first Group B game is against Iran on November 21.

England also face the USA and Wales in the tournament, which concludes with the final on 18 December.

UEFA Nations Cup: Gareth Southgate URGES England to return to form ahead of FIFA 2022 World Cup

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