Thursday October 8, 8pm
England don’t exactly head into this game in the best of shape.
Trent Alexander Arnold and Harry Maguire – two of their starting back four – were absolutely embarrassing in heavy five-goal defeats at the weekend, while Jadon Sancho, Ben Chilwell and Tammy Abraham join up with the squad after breaking protocol and going to a party, thereby losing their place in the starting XI.
Harry Kane, on the other hand, looks at the very peak of his powers at the moment, but Jose Mourinho has publicly condemned Gareth Southgate about overusing the striker and it is unlikely that he will feature against Wales.
Then there is the issue that England have looked so insipid in their recent Nations League games against Iceland and Denmark, teams of Wales’s quality.
Wales have not exactly been terrific themselves, but they do head into this off the back of two Nations League wins on the spin and will be keen to avoid defeat against their near neighbours.
Ryan Giggs’ side will be understrength, missing both Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale ahead of two Nations League games, while Gareth Southgate is also likely to rest players due to controversy or loss of form.
Two highly-changed sides could cancel each other out making Wales (+1) nice value.
Neither England nor Wales lit up the Nations League in their two games in September.
England mustered just the one goal in their two away games against Iceland and Denmark – a 90th-minute penalty against Iceland – while Wales recorded late 1-0 wins against both Bulgaria and Finland.
Neither side has conceded a goal and neither side has shown too much creativity in front of goal either.
Both Wales and England will play three times in less than a week and, being honest, could do without the distraction of a meaningless friendly.
They will both field understrength sides and it could make for a lacklustre affair with Under 2.5 goals. Don’t expect a classic at Wembley.
Thursday is an ideal opportunity for Dominic Calvert-Lewin to make his England debut and who would back against him finding the back of the net at the moment?
If there is going to be goals in this one, Calvert-Lewin is the most likely option.
His terrific start to the season has come out of left field – no one can possibly claim that they saw this coming – but he has been absolutely terrific for Everton this season, scoring nine goals in six games in all competitions.
With Jose Mourinho piling so much pressure on Gareth Southgate over Harry Kane, the England boss will surely turn to Calvert-Lewin and Danny Ings in Kane’s absence.
There is little value in Danny Ings to score anytime and Calvert-Lewin is in much better form at the moment anyway.
England v Wales tips
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