England are looking to recover from a rare defeat at a Toulon Tournament when they face Portugal on Tuesday in their second game in Group A at the renamed 2019 Tournoi Maurice Revello in France.
The young Three Lions dropped their first game, 2-1 to Japan on Saturday, and now face a Portugal side with more than a few players capable of creating problems for the defending champions.
Coach Paul Simpson needs to reshuffle personnel after a drab showing against Japan. He can provide a spark in attack by handing starts to Arsenal strike duo Eddie Nketiah and midfielder Joe Willock.
The young Gunners can help Burnley winger Dwight McNeil—England's best player in the opener—give Portugal more than they can handle.
Date: Tuesday, June 4
Time: 6 p.m. BST/1 p.m. ET
TV Info: FreeSports (422) UK
Simpson may have been overly cautious with the fitness of Nketiah and Willock. Both were on the bench for Arsenal's 4-1 defeat to Chelsea in the UEFA Europa League final in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Wednesday.
Willock entered the fray late on and caught the eye in a brief cameo that shamed the senior star he replaced, Mesut Ozil:
It's not the first time the 19-year-old has impressed at senior level this season. He also found the net twice during a 3-0 win over Blackpool in the FA Cup third round in January as part of a prolific campaign on all fronts domestically:
England need Willock's energy, technique and willingness to break forward from midfield. His runs can force a key Portugal playmaker such as Tiago Dantas to forego his creative leanings for defensive duties.
A product of Benfica's superb academy, the 18-year-old has the vision and guile to find holes in England's athletic defence.
Dantas can also help Portugal exploit their pace out wide by supplying the runs of a raiding full-back who earned plaudits following the 1-0 defeat to Chile on Saturday:
Zach Lowy @ZachLowy
Nuno Tavares did quite well today despite Portugal’s loss to Chile. Calm in the tackle, effortlessly wins possession with his physique and strength. Tireless in attack as well, got up the pitch and almost acted as a second winger to overlap with Félix Correia. Promising LB. https://t.co/ixT5tGufwu
However, Nuno Tavares can't leave too much space in behind for the industrious McNeil to run into. He was England's lone creative force against Japan.
The 19-year-old will be even more effective with a better finisher to aim for. Nketiah looks like the answer after George Hirst struggled to make the most of chances when they came his way on Saturday.
England have the strength in depth to add greater talent to the starting XI and get this campaign back on track.
Prediction: England 3-1 Portugal