England will look to continue their momentum as they face an Italy side that have initiated their rebuilding phase at Wembley on Tuesday.
England somehow prevailed over Netherlands, but the absence of Harry Kane was hardly mitigated as the Three Lions did not look as dominant in attack. Gareth Southgate will look to assess more of his options in some areas as they go up against Italy.
Italy are still heartbroken after their failure to qualify for the World Cup. And their defeat to Argentina showed that the younger generation still has some way to go before the Azzurri go back to their old pedestal. Before the new manager is announced, caretaker manager Luigi Di Biagio will look to show his successor just how good the upcoming generation of players are.
Their last friendly ended in a 1-1 draw and it would be interesting to see how England and Italy match up on Tuesday at the Wembley Stadium. The Hard Tackle now takes a closer look at the two sides.
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Jordan Pickford looked good enough to latch on to the first-choice spot in England’s goal for now and should be retained by Gareth Southgate. The defence, however, could see some shakeup, with the manager perhaps giving some others a chance to impress at the back.
James Tarkowski could be handed his debut in an England shirt while Harry Maguire should also return to the lineup. Kyle Walker will likely be shifted to play out wide on the right in Kieran Trippier’s stead while Ashley Young could return to the English National Team after a long exile, on the other flank.
Jordan Henderson should start again in the quarter-back role while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will hopefully have done enough to start in central midfield again. Southgate could switch to a 3-4-2-1, with Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli playing off of the lone striker.
While Marcus Rashford did all he can, the Manchester United striker is likely to be replaced by Jamie Vardy in the starting lineup.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Pickford; Tarkowski, Stones, Maguire; Walker, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Young; Lingard, Alli; Vardy
Luigi Di Biagio will continue to experiment with the lineup and combination on Tuesday. Gianluigi Donnarumma could assume the duties in goal for the Azzurri while Biagio should opt for a more natural option at right-back, which means a start for Davide Zappacosta.
The other starters are likely to remain untouched as far as the defence goes. In midfield, Marco Verratti and Jorginho are likely to retain their places in midfield while Marco Parolo should be replaced by Giacomo Bonaventura as the third man in the midfield trio.
Antonio Candreva and Patrick Cutrone should come into the lineup as Biagio attempts to give the others a chance.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Zappacosta, Rugani, Bonucci, De Sciglio; Bonaventura, Jorginho, Verratti; Candreva, Cutrone, Insigne
1. England have lost just two games under Gareth Southgate, with 8 wins and 5 draws.
2. Italy have a great record against England, with the hosts winning just 1 of their previous 6 meetings.
3. Ashley Young last started a game for England in 2013, scoring one and assisting another in an 8-0 rout of San Marino in the World Cup Qualifiers.
4. If the predicted lineup starts, Jordan Henderson will be the most experienced Englishman on the pitch, with 37 appearances to his name.
5. Jordan Henderson will go level with fellow club legend Jamie Carragher for National team appearances (38), if he features against Italy.
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The veteran has returned within the fold after a long exile, thanks to his form at club level. The Manchester United man has reformed himself at left-back and it is his transformation that has paved the way for a role within the National Setup.
Experience will be key to England’s success in an otherwise young squad and Southgate will look towards Young to keep the others in check on the field.
England 2-1 Italy
England did not look totally dominant against Netherlands and could have some problems to deal with against Italy as well as the two teams face each other at Wembley on Tuesday. The two teams are likely to seek opportunities to attack, with Italy a bit more conservative in their approach compared to the hosts.
But, as was the case against Netherlands, England should eke it by a narrow margin.