Amazingly, England haven’t lost a qualifier since their loss to Ukraine in 2009. They lost 1-0 on the day with a team that included Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Carlton Cole.
This new look English team is not full of stars like Carlton Cole, but Southgate has a great bunch of young talent coming through.
Jadon Sancho, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling are most likely going to England’s front three, this trio are up there with the best at International level.
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When Liverpool sold Raheem Sterling to Man City for 50m I thought it seemed a bit crazy. He’s proven to be a bargain at that price though and under Guardiola he’s taken his game to a new level.
Guardiola seems to have thought him how to finish, something that he really lacked at Liverpool.
In the last three seasons he has been scoring at a rate of 0.54 goals per game and when you put that into context, in the same period Hazard scored 0.41 goals per game and in Michael Owens time at Liverpool, in which he won a Ballon D’or, he scored at a rate of 0.54 goals per game.
Considering all this you can back him at 8/11 to score anytime. This seems a bit wild as England are expected to score for fun and they are 1/16 to win the match.
England always seem to have the rub of the (Rob) green when it comes to qualifying draws and this time it’s no different. They’ve been drawn against the Czechs, Montenegro, the mighty Bulgaria and of course, the home of football Kosovo.
The Three Lions will surely go unbeaten again and are not a big price to win all their eight Group A games. They’ve scored 49 and only conceded only 6 goals in qualifying for the last two major tournaments. That makes it very hard to see the Bulgarians even getting on the score sheet here.
Meanwhile, I find it very strange that Sancho was allowed to leave Manchester City, especially with the apparent greatest coach in the world at the club. But, Sancho has proven to be a real star at Dortmund & is now rated at over £150m!
He was involved in 26 goals in 34 games in last season’s Bundesliga, scoring 12 and assisting 14. He’s got off to a flyer again this season too, assisting three goals in the opening three games and Sancho looks likely to grab another one here with England surely scoring a rake of goals on their way to winning both halves.
With all that in mind, the three best bets for this game look like:
Sterling to score anytime – 8/11
England to win to nil – 4/9
England to win both halves – 4/5
* All odds correct at time of posting.