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After initially struggling to find the net for his international outfit, Raheem Sterling has turned on the jets in recent times. After making his debut for the Three Lions in 2012, the Man City winger only managed four goals in 47 appearances.
But, since the dawn of 2019, he has found the net for England 14 times in 23 games and was one of his country’s top performers at the European Championships in the summer just past. He may be struggling to nail down a regular spot in Pep Guardiola’s City outfit, there can be no doubt he an indispensable part of Gareth Southgate’s first XI for England.
Sterling was rested for England’s facile 5-0 victory over Andorra last Saturday and should come into this home tie with Hungary with an appetite to get on the scoresheet. Don’t forget, he also opened the scoring at the Puskas Arena when these sides last met back in September.
Even Conor Washington wouldn’t complain if you described him as a journeyman striker, as he has represented no less than seven clubs in his career to date. But, despite bouncing around the leagues in England and Scotland, Washington is now Ian Baraclough’s clear choice to lead the line for Northern Ireland.
The Charlton Athletic frontman has now collected 32 caps for his country, grabbing five goals in the process. He actually had a decent year for his club last season, hitting the net 11 times in 38 appearances.
Bulgaria did hold out for a scoreless draw in Belfast when the countries squared off in Group C back in March, but they’ve only managed a single clean sheet in their seven games since then – conceding 10 goals in the process. Washington will be licking his lips at such a leaky defence and he should also be on spot-kicks for Northern Ireland should they be presented with an opportunity from 12 yards.
Proximity makes this game almost feel like a derby, but there is an ocean between the Faroe Islands and Scotland when it comes to the FIFA world rankings as the nations are separated by 69 places. The Scots got their first test of a major tournament in 23 years in the summer and clearly are hungry for more as they occupy the play-off spot in Group F.
A win in Torshavn on Tuesday would be the fourth World Cup qualifier victory in a row for Steve Clarke’s men, and key to his plans is the way that Lyndon Dykes leads the line. The Aussie import qualifies for Scotland through his parents and has hit the ground running since his debut last year, scoring five times in 19 outings.
It may have taken VAR a long time to give it on Saturday, but he took his goal against Israel brilliantly to recover from missing a penalty earlier on in the match. The QPR striker should be bouncing from that and he could well make it two goals in two against the Faroes.
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