Gareth Southgate had other thoughts and made a decision to pair Raheem Sterling with Harry Kane up front. Low expectations for this year's overhauled team were dispelled early in Russian Federation when Kane reacted quickly to score after John Stones' header was saved.
He broke the deadlock in the 11th minute and scored a last-gasp victor after Tunisia equalised through Ferjani Sassi.
"I had to prove people wrong throughout my career and I love proving to myself I can do it", he said.
"The important thing was always the three points, but it was good that, especially in the first half, we got the performance we were looking for".
Uruguay Vs. Saudi Arabia Live Stream
Uruguay's Martin Caceres in action against Saudi Arabia in the FIFA World Cup at Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don, Russia on Wednesday. Another alternative to watch Saudi Arabia vs Uruguay is to try out the FuboTV 7-day free trial .
England's players later thought they deserved a similar call when Kane was brought down in the opposite penalty area, but the referee disagreed. Former England striker Alan Shearer said: "The manager gave Harry Kane the captain's armband for one reason - he's the go-to player when someone has to make a difference". It's fair to say that, unlike the majority of his England teammates, the softly-spoken Maguire hasn't played in the really big games, domestically or in Europe. We've done a lot of work on the training field and playing last we have seen a lot of games, so we've all been itching to play and it was tough.
The Spurs man, England's captain, scored twice in the match, his first after 11 minutes and his second after 91, and is a live contender in the Golden Boot betting. Above all, England have to find a way of getting Kane involved more, but now they can celebrate.
Panama, who lost 3-0 to Belgium in Group G's other match, are next in line and, ranked 55th in the world, Southgate's charges are widely expected to pick up another three points on Sunday.
"For me, I struggled to get them off me".
The FA instructed the England team to apply swathes of high-strength insect repellent throughout the night, with several players seen re-coating themselves with spray during stoppages in play. "England need more chances to fall for him given those two chances were his only real sights of goal, but they can trust in their skipper". And the North Africans were still level as the game went past the 90-minute mark.
Paul Merson believes Harry Kane was "poor" against Tunisia and hopes his late goal does not disguise a disappointing performance.