No Rakitic? England can beat Croatia at Wembley today

It’s massive, this game.

It’s huge and rather exciting.

As you know, Gareth Southgate is an organiser who always looks forward and always asks for more.

We’ve heard his mantra from other managers like Pep and Poch and Klopp : We can improve.

WE MUST IMPROVE!! We hear that a lot, don’t we?

Ivan Rakitic says England as an “organised” team with “well-rehearsed” movements, and he told Sid Lowe that our 3-2 victory in Seville was deserved.

Rakitic has 101 caps and 147 games for Barcelona, having joined them in 2014 after playing for Basel, Schalke and Sevilla.

Why do I think we can win it? Because Croatia have lost World Cup keeper Subasic (Monaco) and goalscorer Mandzukic (Juventus) to retirement. And Rakitic has gone back to Barcelona for treatment for his hamstring injury.

That’s the biggest team news: Rakitic isn’t playing!

Yes, Croatia are far better tactically than we are. They’re also superior technically. Each player can do more things.

But we now have Jadon Sancho and he’s such a good footballer he could play for Croatia, Belgium or France.

Sancho is much better than Raheem at the same age. And I’m a Sterling fan. He was our best player in Brazil in Roy Hodgson’s winless England team.

That was historic: the first World Cup where we failed to win a game. Although Sterling was our youngest player in that tournament, he was sparky, skilful, fearless and consistent.

Yesterday Southgate said, “It’s becoming increasingly difficult to pick a team and that’s a really good sign.”

On Sky Sports News the probable team was: Pickford; Walker Gomez Stones Shaw; Henderson Dier Barkley ; Sterling Kane Rashford.

But I don’t think South will start such a belt-and-braces eleven. That is just a team of big strong men. No Trippier to take the free kicks?

But if he does go with that side, it’s 0-0 at 60 minutes, Jordan Sancho and Dele Alli can come on and win it for us.

I always love a 2pm kick-off.

Because I don’t have to wait long to find out I was wrong.

Guendouzi shines for 21s / Sanllehi admits Super League talks