One of the most fascinating friendlies to watch for as there is plentiful interesting curiosity to be responded by both managers. Both teams battle at Turin for a fiery friendly, expecting number of key rotations among the starting line-up. Speaking of Turin, also known as “Italy’s forgotten City”, isn’t really forgettable for the Three Lions as they have not tasted victory there since 1948, Roy Hodgson being a baby then. In the last encounter, the Azzuris seized a marginal 2-1 triumph in Manaus during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which ended in ignominy for both sides. After their opening match in the tournament, Hodgson boldly stated that it was one of their finest performance, it brain-freeze the fans for a second. The former Fulham and Liverpool boss was sweating over his words when they were beaten 2-1 by Uruguay where Luis Suarez scored plus a gloomy goalless draw against Costa Rica. Nightmare that can never be wiped away from England or their current boss, somehow he wasn’t shown the exit door back then.
Looking at both teams now, the Three Lions come in with a greater momentum after thumping Lithuania 4-0 at Wembley. Their position is reasonably secured in Group E as they are six points clear of Slovenia with five wins out of five, straightforwardly shaping their road to France 2016. It was an outright pleasing performance by the home team, yet never expect the same from the Italians. Vexatious moments for the 67-year old as two of the goal scorers are back to their clubs seeking medical attentions, Raheem Sterling as well as Danny Welbeck. Daniel Sturridge is still racing against time with another injury, rather repeated numerous times this season on the papers. Additionally, workhorse James Milner and attack-minded Leighton Baines is also unavailable.
Sticking to the adage, one man’s loss is another man’s gain, however it seems to be men over here. Harry Kane dominated the news once again few days back, something he has been doing regularly this season at club level. The Premier League joint top-scorer found the back of the net within 79 seconds on his senior international debut. The fantasy premier league rising star would be leading the line against Italy, unless Hodgson plans a fairytale to play with zero strikers. On the other hand, Theo Walcott could be his partner upfront, the winger going through a lopsided campaign with Arsenal due to lengthy injuries and contract saga. Can the rivals at club work together to upset the Italian’s backline? There was an encouraging boost for Walcott, surprisingly from an individual on blue kit, Giorgio Chiellini stated “I am always a fan of Walcott, a quick sprinter and terrifying for defenders. England notice his absence. For the world of football, it is positive that Walcott recuperates totally to his top level.” Various rumours also state that Phil Jones is expected to operate as a holding midfield role, while Southampton’s barnstorming full-back, Ryan Bertrand will win his third cap for his nation.
Roy Hodgson could be going for a diamond formation, let’s see how it goes for a manager who was sternly dedicated to use 4-4-2 over the years. A tough nut to crack, the Azzuris are unbeaten since the World Cup 2014.