Three Lions must start to roar
While winning the UEFA Nations League isn't paramount, finishing bottom of a four-team group that includes underdogs Hungary wouldn't exactly prime a side for a World Cup tournament.
England are winless in all four of their matches so far (D2 L2), one of two nations within the League A bracket yet to taste victory (alongside Wales).
In their last match, in June, they were humbled 0-4 by Hungary - England's heaviest home defeat in over 90 years - and yes, they were asked to play four times in 10 days after the domestic leagues had ended, but the Hungarians just wanted it more, and looking back, that is not a good look, for any player or team.
Three months on, and little over a month away from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Three Lions must bounce back this week with an aggressive plan to re-build what Gareth Southgate has implemented since taking charge in 2016; a winning mentality, a tournament focused mindset and a clinical nature to their performances.
After all, only Belgium (10) have won more matches than England (8) across the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020.
They can - and have - gone all the way at major tournaments under Southgate, and this week feels decisive to show they can do so once again.
Mancini in trouble?
Reading Mancini in trouble might make you laugh at first, after all, he steered Italy to the EURO 2020 title to claim their first major trophy since 2006, only 14 months ago.
However, since then, plenty of sides have done the job on the Italians, most notably North Macedonia back in March to dump Mancini's men out of 2022 World Cup qualifying.
In fact, since lifting the Jules Rimet trophy in 2006, Italy haven't progressed further than the group stage (2010, 2014), while they have now failed to qualify for each of the last two World Cup tournaments altogether (2018, 2022).
Opta tells us that Italy have managed to win just two of their last nine games too (D4 L3), shipping five times against Germany most recently - the first time they've conceded five in a match since 1957 against Yugoslavia.
England may have one eye on the bigger prize that's on offer after this week, but equally, Roberto Mancini knows he could be in big trouble if his side's current form continues.
BTTS at San Siro
England haven't won in Italy since before they ever won the World Cup, last doing so in 1961 thanks to goals from Gerry Hitchens and Jimmy Greaves in a 3-2 win. The same scoreline this time around is 40.039/1 on the Betfair Exchange.
The last four meetings between the sides, however, have all ended level - including a 0-0 drab draw in June - and we could be in for another tight affair with both managers daring not to lose.
The Three Lions 2.68/5 are currently the slight favourites to topple the Italians at the San Siro, with the home side available at 2.757/4 on the Betfair Sportsbook.
Italy have conceded 13 goals in their last seven matches though, while England have conceded in five of their last nine matches, four of which came in their last such match.
If there is one part of Southgate's squad, and even starting XI that is up for grabs for the World Cup, it is the centre of defence. Whether he goes with his "tried & tested" Stones and Maguire combination or, offers Fikayo Tomori a deserved chance - in his home stadium - I feel there will be some issues in the either rusty or ever-changing England backline.
Throw in Serie A's second top goalscorer Ciro Immobile (5) who is sure to start, and any chances England may gift up could be ruthlessly put away. Both teams to score at the San Siro is 1.875/6.
Kane claims England's opening points
A £2 free bet on any Bet Builder is available to Betfair punters for this Italy v England encounter, and that's the angle I am taking here, too.
After outlining why I see both teams scoring, either my head or my heart is telling me England will get their first win of this Nations League campaign.
They are a side that has proven over an extended period now that they can handle big pressures in big games.
Only Erling Haaland (11) has netted more often than Harry Kane in the Premier League this season (6), who because of the Norwegian's blistering form, is quietly going under the radar it feels this season.
Let us not forget the England captain is up to third in the all-time rankings in the Premier League (189), while he's now just three behind Wayne Rooney (53) as England's second highest ever goalscorer (50).
His motivation to take that mantle from Rooney is forever clear, and for the England side, if he could equal (or break) that record before the showpiece in Qatar, Kane can focus more on leading the Three Lions to glory, and in turn - immortality.
The England captain to score anytime, both teams to score and England to win is available at just over 8.07/1 in a Betfair Bet Builder.
Should England lose this match, the one positive would be the ability to use the Germany match on Monday as a (final) opportunity to see the fringe players play their way into the final World Cup squad.
Players such as Ivan Toney - who is 15.014/1 to start against Iran on MD1 - Jarrod Bowen 11.010/1 and even the aforementioned Fikayo Tomori 7.06/1 will all be looking to make their mark.
Head over to the Betting.Betfair site to read more on England's squad thanks to Max Liu and Ste Tudor.