5 talking points ahead of England’s clash with Bosnia and Herzegovina

England ramp up their Euro 2024 preparations with a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday evening.

Ahead of the clash at St James’ Park, the PA news agency has a look at five of the main talking points.

Patchwork defence

Luke Shaw, left, and Harry Maguire are recovering from respective muscle injuries

Three of England’s ideal back four will be missing in Newcastle. Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire are recovering from respective muscle injuries, while Gareth Southgate has decided not to throw John Stones in after playing in last weekend’s FA Cup final. It leaves a lot of gaps to fill, although Kieran Trippier looks a shoo-in at left-back having been named captain for the night and with Shaw sidelined. Marc Guehi, Lewis Dunk, Ezri Konsa and Joe Gomez are central options, along with uncapped Jarrad Branthwaite and Jarell Quansah. Lots of options, not a lot of international experience.

England debuts in Newcastle?

Five of those available for Monday’s friendly are uncapped, with Branthwaite – called up for the first time in March – and new boy Quansah joined by midfielders Curtis Jones and Adam Wharton. The latter has been rewarded having impressed since joining Crystal Palace from Blackburn in January, while the former has a long-term admirer in Southgate. Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford – another called up for the first time in March – completes the quintet but is the least likely to get a minute at St James’ Park.

Palmer’s chance to impress?

Cole Palmer’s big move from Manchester City to Chelsea has paid off in spades, with the 22-year-old shining brightly in a bumpy season at Stamford Bridge. The attacking midfielder is now looking to take his fantastic form onto the international stage. Palmer made his debut in November and would have added to those two substitute appearances had an injury issue not ruled him out of March’s internationals. Palmer was with the camp for both matches and on the bench for the latter. Now a first start could be in the offing as Southgate experiments ahead of Germany.

Trent in midfield?

Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has been listed as a midfielder in England’s recent squad announcements, more down to Southgate’s belief in the ball-playing defender sparkling in midfield than the competition at right-back. Alexander-Arnold has put in some encouraging performances in that position for the national team, but injury denied Southgate the chance to audition him there against elite competition in March’s tough friendlies against Brazil and Belgium. The England boss now only has the Bosnia and Iceland matches to experiment with him there before business gets under way in Germany.

Kane able but not starting

Of all the players England need fit for the Euros, there are few more important than Harry Kane. The national team’s captain and all-time top scorer has been dealing with a back complaint of late, but Southgate says the Bayern Munich sharpshooter has trained well this week at their north-east base. That said, the England boss says Kane will not be starting at St James’ Park, meaning Ollie Watkins or Ivan Toney will have the chance to impress. The Aston Villa and Brentford strikers are vying to be back-up to the skipper, with one of them potentially missing out on a place on the plane.