NO MINNOWS FOR ENGLAND
Iceland lesson makes Dier wary of Lithuania threat
LONDON to do what we didn’t.”
He added: “We have to be confident going into it, try to play quick, attacking football and hopefully they won’t be able to handle that.”
Having tested a 3-4-2-1 system in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Germany, Southgate may decide to revert to the back four he used in the three qualifiers he oversaw at the end of last year.
With Chelsea’s Gary Cahill suspended and Manchester United pair Chris Smalling and Phil Jones having withdrawn due to injury, John Stones will expect to regain his place at centre-back.
The Manchester City defender started on the bench in Dortmund, where Burnley’s Michael Keane made an accomplished debut.
Uncapped Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson has been drafted into the squad to provide cover at centre-back.
Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford is also pushing for a starting berth, while Jermain Defoe will hope to feature after returning to the squad following an absence of nearly four years.
Lithuania made a steady start to qualifying, drawing with Slovenia and Scotland before beating Malta 2-0, but were then given a rude awakening by a 4-0 defeat in Slovakia.
Edgaras Jankauskas’s side, who are without an away win in six competitive games, sit fourth in the group, five points below England and three points off the play-off place.
The Lithuania manager, whose side were beaten 3-0 by the Czech Republic in a friendly on Wednesday, said his team will draw encouragement from England’s defeat by Iceland.
“World-class players should not be affected by pressure,” Jankauskas told The Times newspaper.
“When you are privileged to play every week in great stadiums and the best league in the world, then you should get used to the pressure and you have to cope with the pressure.
“It is your job week in, week out. In the Euros we saw that on the day England were not ready. I have total faith in my players.”
Following Wednesday’s terror attack in London, which left four people dead and over 50 injured, British police have pledged to boost security for today’s game.
“In collaboration with the local authorities and Met Police there will be an enhanced security operation for England v Lithuania on Sunday, to ensure a safe and secure environment,” said an England FA spokesperson.
There will be armed patrols around the stadium, while England’s players will wear black armbands and there will be a minute’s silence prior to kick-off.
The match programmes will also contain a tribute to former England manager Graham Taylor, who died in January at the age of 72. AFP
England’s Eric Dier (left) is challenged by Germany’s Lukas Podolski in their international friendly in Dortmund on Wednesday.