Marc Guehi is hoping to get the nod to fill in for John Stones in the centre of England’s defence on Saturday, which could be good news for Harry Maguire.

England manager Gareth Southgate is without Stones for the European Championship qualifier against Ukraine in Poland on Saturday and next week’s friendly against Scotland.

Stones sat out England’s Euro qualifying success against Malta in June after winning the Champions League with Manchester City, with Guehi deputising next to Maguire.

The duo helped England keep a clean sheet and the early expectation is that Guehi and Maguire will pair up again, despite Maguire’s situation at Manchester United.

Levi Colwill is expected to make his England senior debut, but that is more likely to come from either the substitutes’ bench or against Scotland in Glasgow.

What is it?

England play Ukraine in their only competitive match of September’s international break, before they play Scotland in a friendly.

Goals from Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka were enough to earn England a victory when the nations played at Wembley in March. England ran out 4-0 winners when they faced Ukraine in Rome in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 (played in 2021).

When is it?

Saturday, September 9. The game will kick-off at 5pm (BST).

Where is the game being played?

The game will be played at the Tarczynski Arena in Wroclaw, Poland. Ukraine’s national team have played their home matches in Poland since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

What TV channel is it on?

Channel 4 have exclusive live coverage of England’s Euro 2024 qualifiers in the UK.

Who is in England’s squad?

James Maddison is pushing hard to start again, as he did against Malta, with Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane the other attacking players, and Jack Grealish ruled out through injury.

Maddison has been in superb form for Tottenham Hotspur, where he moved in the summer from Leicester City.

Southgate will be forced to make at least two changes from the Malta side, however, as Trent Alexander-Arnold is not fit, which easily frees up a space for Jude Bellingham.

Alexander-Arnold’s absence may be good news for Jordan Henderson, who is desperate to prove that he can still contribute to England despite moving to Saudi Arabia.

Luke Shaw is also out injured, although the left-back did meet up with Southgate’s squad earlier this week at St George’s Park.

The absence of Shaw could see Kieran Trippier fill in at left-back, with Kyle Walker starting at right-back.

England squad vs Ukraine

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal).

Defenders: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Levi Colwill (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Al-Ettifaq), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (Arsenal).

Forwards: Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), James Maddison (Tottenham Hotspur), Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Callum Wilson (Newcastle United).

What are the odds?

  • Ukraine to win: 7/1
  • England to win: 12/25
  • Draw: 7/2

Eddie Nketiah: Thierry Henry helped me through my career setbacks

By Mike McGrath

It has been with the guiding hand of Thierry Henry that Eddie Nketiah has overcome setbacks on his way to an England call-up this week.

Arsenal’s greatest goalscorer was an Academy coach at the club when Nketiah was in Arsenal’s younger age groups and the pair have been close ever since.

Nketiah had been released by Chelsea at 14, on the same day as Declan Rice, and his route to Gareth Southgate’s squad has come via a loan at Leeds that was cut short and the post-Arsene Wenger era where Arsenal managers gave him fleeting opportunities.

Now 24, he has felt the benefit this season of regular matches under Mikel Arteta and has started the campaign ahead of Gabriel Jesus, leading to the text message from Southgate. His opportunity has come with the advice of Henry, he saw his potential at the Hale End headquarters of Arsenal’s young players. .

“His best advice was just to believe in yourself. He came in and saw the quality I had when I was a first-year scholar and said that I just needed to believe in myself, whatever anyone else said - that is what is going to drive you, to motivate you. That’s probably one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received,” Nketiah said.

“Thierry has been magnificent for me. It was one of my best and most enjoyable seasons, being able to bounce ideas off him and he gave me a lot of confidence and still to this day when I see him he is still supportive and still really helpful.”

Nketiah has been given Henry’s famous No14 shirt, which he says he is trying to put his own stamp on rather than recreate the Frenchman’s great Arsenal moments. After the pain of his release at Chelsea, he is determined to make the most of his run in Arteta’s team which has yielded two goals in four appearances at the start of the campaign.

“I think it did [make me more determined],” Nketiah said. “I was at Chelsea from the ages of nine and 14 and it came as a shock to me because I was doing well at the time. Obviously Declan [Rice] was of that age group as well and had a similar experience.

“I think it gives you an awakening and just knowing that things can change like that - that you can lose everything you have worked for. It gives you that extra bit of motivation and resilience when times are hard. I’m able to dig a level deeper than maybe some people can or don’t want to go into. It’s all part of the experience. Some boys might not have experienced it but then they will have had lows in their careers. This was my journey and it has helped me by who I am today.”

Nketiah admitted he lost his composure when he got the England call-up, celebrating with his family and a close friend at his home. He is at home at St George’s Park, having come through the ranks with England and becoming the Under-21s leading goalscorer. He is also eligible for Ghana but wanted to commit to England.

“Obviously both sides were always an option, I think naturally coming through the academy at England obviously you have the aspiration to play here and like I said once the call up was there and the offer was on the table it was really hard to turn down and something which I felt was a natural progression for myself at this stage,” he said.

“I felt now was a good time to make that step so obviously I’m really happy to be here and proud to be here like I said, hopefully I can go on and help the team this week and get some caps.”

With the seniors, he is hoping to bounce ideas off another legend. After tips from Henry, he wants to pick the brains of Harry Kane.

“I might have a few notes in my phone! I think it makes the conversation a little bit easier (now he has left Tottenham),” he joked. “Obviously, now that he has made the move over but he’s a fantastic player, and I wish him all the best in his next chapter.”