England

England Betting Tips: Four ways to back Three Lions vs Iceland

John Stones, England
Stones is a rock for the Three Lions

Ste Tudor picks out four marquee England players expected to play this Friday evening and make a real impact.


After fielding an experimental side last Monday evening, complete with six players who have won fewer than ten caps, Gareth Southgate is expected to go much stronger against Iceland as the Euros hones into view.

His assessment of peripheral talent will likely come in the form of substitutions, bringing on the likes of Ivan Toney with a third of the contest remaining, as he prioritises his star attractions and giving them valuable minutes. So many of them are returning from injury or have arrived late to the camp after cup final commitments.

What this means in essence is that it's a lot easier to predict his line-up this time, to last. The caveat however is that any number of his starting XI will only be handed an hour or so of game-time.


John Stones

The Manchester City stopper joined up with the England set-up on Tuesday after being given a week's rest post-cup final. This Friday evening he's a near-cert to start after hardly playing in the latter chunk of 2023/24.

Having recovered from an injury picked up on international duty back in March, the 30-year-old found himself largely bench-bound for the final ten league games of the season, playing just 111 minutes. With Harry Maguire's injury ongoing Southgate will consider it crucial that at least one of his first-choice centre-half pairing is match-fit and sharp for Serbia a week on Sunday.

Seeing Lewis Dunk and Marc Guehi struggle at times against Bosnia will have only solidified this obvious truth. Between them, they lost possession eight times with one error leading to a shot.

Data backs up Stones' importance to the Three Lions, as much as the naked eye recognizes his quality and calm authority at the back. In the games he has started in the Southgate era England have kept clean sheets 56.1% of the time.


Phil Foden

The Premier League Player of the Season has kicked on enormously this past calendar year consistently reaching levels he previously managed in patches.

Dictating and elevating a side that features Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri, the 'Stockport Iniesta' completed 168 progressive passes compared to 88 the season before. He averaged three shots per 90 and 6.4 shot-ending sequences per 90. He bagged 19 in the league - including two hat-tricks - and remarkably was statistically City's best player on ten occasions. Again in a side ignited by De Bruyne and Rodri.

If he can successfully transfer his form and influence to the international arena then England have little to fear this summer. We're well and truly here for the Foden hype train and it all starts at Wembley this Friday.


Bukayo Saka

Afforded an extra few days to overcome a muscle problem the Arsenal flyer is expected to feature at Wembley with Southgate saying earlier this week, "The periodisation we've taken from his injury is to rest and then he should be available for Friday."

The first thing to note is that an England manager uses words like 'periodisation'. That would never have happened back in the day. The second point is that Southgate clearly doesn't want one of his marquee talents going into the Serbia game ring-rusty. And rightly so.

In peak condition Saka created 91 chances in the Premier League last term, the fourth highest individual tally. In front of goal he notched a career-best 16, equating to 0.49 per 90. He averaged 1.4 successful dribbles.

It matters too that he has serviced Kane twice-over in recent games and that four of Iceland's last five goals conceded have derived from their left defensive flank.


Harry Kane

Will Ivan Toney be given the same opportunity as Ollie Watkins to prove himself an able understudy to the Bayern goal-machine? Under normal circumstances that would be likely but the time-line of Kane's injury has left him in need of minutes to ensure maximum sharpness ahead of Serbia.

That must be Southgate's priority with the Euros opener just ten days away.

kane.jpg

Which suggests an hour or more awaits for England's record goal-notcher which is ample opportunity to add to his 63-goal international haul.

Last term for Die Roten he scored 24 goals inside an hour, just three shy of Erling Haaland's overall Golden Boot-winning tally in the Premier League.

Kane has converted 13 first-half goals for England in his last 21 starts.


Read Lewis Jones' Group Stage Bet Builder Special here


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