Friday 27th May. 7:45PM. ITV 1
After starting the Euro 2016 warm-ups with a decent display against Turkey at the Etihad on Sunday, Roy Hodgson’s men continue their preparations by welcoming Australia to the Stadium of Light.
This is England’s penultimate friendly before the real action starts on June 11th, and those selected players will want to stake their claims for a place in the final 23 and indeed the starting XI against Russia.
It should be a cracker to get a great weekend of action underway. Come on!
Hodgson Still Assessing His Options
Even at this late stage in the day, the England boss still isn’t 100% sure of his plans and will use this as another opportunity to experiment in a bid to confirm his decisions. England were brilliant in qualifying, but the emergence of several stars this term has thrown a spanner into the works. Not least with Marcus Rashford.
Having already bedded in the likes of Eric Dier, Danny Drinkwater and Dele Alli in recent months, Hodgson will now seemingly hand a debut to the 18-year-old Rashford. The Manchester United man has burst onto the scene and has become the shock inclusion in the 26-man squad. With a big performance here, his dream of taking a seat on the plane might just come true.
Along with Rashford, Wayne Rooney should be back in action after the United duo missed Sunday’s clash with Turkey due to the FA Cup final. Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson and Fabian Delph will all be hoping for game time as they look to show their credentials.
England’s main worry against Turkey was the lapses in defensive concentration, but with Chris Smalling back in, Hodgson will hope to see a stronger unit. Whatever happens, the Three Lions need a big performance as they build towards that Group B opener against Russia. Let’s hope they live up to expectations.
Socceroos Out To Spoil The Party
Ange Postecoglou’s men won’t be expected to cause too many problems against England, but the Socceroos did register a 3-1 victory at Upton Park back in 2003 and will be out to score a similarly memorable outcome at the Stadium of Light.
Australia are in good form too, winning their last four matches with a cumulative total of 19 goals scored and just one conceded. Of course, this is a massive step up in class in comparison to those recent opponents, but the visitors do still boast quality.
Mile Jedinak, Robbie Kruse and Tom Rogic can all hurt England if given the chance. Meanwhile, the experience of Mark Milligan and Matt McKay could play an important role if Hodgson does try some of his less experienced squad members.
Australia won’t be visiting to simply make up the numbers, and should provide England a test. Nonetheless, the hosts will be expected to prevail.
England v Australia Betting
The result might not be overly significant, but England are fully expected to register a victory against the Socceroos and are priced 1/4 with Bet365. Alternatively, Australia are available at 10/1 while the draw can be backed at 19/4.
It has been a meteoric rise to fame for England’s new attacking hero, but his hopes of landing a spot in the final 23 aren’t exactly great. The only way Rashford can force his way in now is to perform over the next week, starting with a positive debut here.
The youngster certainly isn’t short of confidence. Against an inferior opponent, we’re backing the Manchester United man to take his chance.
England should have far too much for the visitors and we’d expect Hodgson’s side to build momentum with a healthy victory. However, the one area that needs to be addressed after the Turkey game is the defence, and tightening things up at the back is a priority.
The Three Lions shouldn’t have too many problems with keeping Australia at bay, though. And we’re going to gamble on the hosts bagging three goals at the right end too. Come on England, land us a winner to get the weekend up and running in style.