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England's quest to end their 53-year wait for international glory continues on Thursday night when they face Holland in the inaugural Nations League semi-final.

Former England internationals and now Sportsmail’s Three Wise Men - Martin Keown, Chris Sutton and Jamie Redknapp - provide the lowdown ahead of that clash at the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimaraes, Portugal...


If Harry Kane can start the Champions League final he can start this game and I suspect, with a potential trophy on the line, Gareth Southgate will want his main man in the side against Holland. 

Kane has been directly involved in 20 of the 59 goals that England have scored under Southgate - scoring 17 and assisting three - so he should start ahead of Marcus Rashford up front. 

In that final against Liverpool, his first appearance since April 9, Kane was disappointing. He went up against Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip and barely had a sniff of goal in Madrid. Now, he will also have to contest with Matthijs de Ligt, so this could be an even sterner test for Kane in his injury comeback.

Harry Kane could start for England and captain the side after overcoming an ankle injury

It has been a long season for this England squad. Chelsea played 63 games in all, Manchester City 61. Arsenal and Tottenham played 58 each, and and Liverpool played 53 apiece. But Southgate will want his stars to use this encounter to send a message. To beat the Czech Republic 5-0 and Montenegro 5-1 in March showed their level. This is some of the best football we have witnessed in decades.

If Southgate can lead England to a trophy, then it will underline that fact.

Gareth Southgate (right) has revitalised England's football since becoming manager

Gareth Southgate (right) has revitalised England's football since becoming manager

This Holland side are no pushovers under Ronald Koeman. Van Dijk, De Ligt and Frenkie de Jong are the three best players I've seen this season. Koeman also has former forward Memphis Depay and Champions League winner Gini Wijnaldum. Holland are on the comeback trail, but England are also up there with the best on the international stage now. It ought to make for an intriguing match.

Virgil van Dijk will hope to add the Nations League trophy to his Champions League success

Virgil van Dijk will hope to add the Nations League trophy to his Champions League success

People perhaps thought this England team peaked after the World Cup but they clearly haven't. Southgate has kept the momentum going by evolving the way they play. Last summer in Russia, England used a back three rather than a back four. 

Having played in both of those systems, I can tell you which one I prefer. The back three has a tendency to present problems. Southgate realised that and turned to 4-3-3, with Ross Barkley playing an integral part. That decision paid off and England have secured five successive wins.

Keown's England XI (4-3-3): Pickford; Walker,

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