Gareth Southgate continues his spell in charge at England’s helm with former Middlesbrough man eyeing another victory in the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, which would give his side a perfect record after three games in Group F. Slovenia will have a say though as Srecko Katanec’s men look to build up on their win over Slovakia.
Slovenia have recorded a deserved win on Saturday over their more illustrious visitors Slovakia, earning a vital timely confidence boost ahead of the high-profile visit from Gareth Southgate’s England. Slovenia were a better rival throughout and saw their pressure pay off with Rok Kronaveter’s winner. Second-half sub inflicted a heavy blow to Slovakia who now have no points from opening two games. Slovenia prepare for a duel against the Three Lions looking to make amends for Euro 2016 disappointing campaign after finishing third in England’s qualifying group and losing a play-off to Ukraine. Slovenia head into the England match having lost only one of their past nine home qualifying games. It is important to mention that sole defeat came to England in June 2015. Slovenia have scored at least a goal in three of their last four previous encounters with England, but we should make a trend out of it.
Srecko Katanec will have no major selection issues, with the exception of goalkeeper Najc Vidman who remains a long term injury with his shoulder injury. Olimpija Ljubljana midfielder Rok Kronaveter will hope his goal versus Slovakia will be enough to earn him a starting berth against England.
Time to drop Rooney?
Gareth Southgate is tempted to make a big cut which could ultimately be a great way to either boost his position at bench or ruin it at the very beginning. Having urged his men to be bold in their qualifying games, it is now time for the manager to show courage and drop England captain, who had a disappointing performance against Malta on Saturday. Gareth Southgate started off with a 2-0 win dominated by Liverpool players Daniel Sturridge on the score sheet and Jordan Henderson as the key man in midfield. Southgate now looks to make his stamp stronger as he faces a difficult selection decision. England need to put in a strong performance if they intend to make their fans forget it all about Sam Allardyce embarrassment. Winning is the best way to do it and Gareth Southgate will urge his players to continue in the same manner as they travel to Slovenia. A record of only 1 away international lost in last 15 trips away from home is offering great encouragement.
Wayne Rooney faces a drop with Eric Dier all set to start in his behalf. Totteham man has been rested against Malta to protect his hamstring and Cahill or Henderson could expect to get a captain’s armband. Sunderland shot stopper Jordan Pickford has been given his first England call up replacing injured Tom Heaton from Burnley Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs has also joined the team instead of Ryan Bertrand.
England have every reason to feel optimistic ahead of their trip to Stadion Stozice in Ljubljana as they have won each of their four previous matches against Slovenia. Despite the scandals surrounding the national team, there is a positive atmosphere inside the hugely talented team that should have no problems dispatching modest Slovenia side.
Top pick: England 1.67 (4/6) WilliamHill
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score – No 1.62 (8/13) @BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: England to win to Nil 2.38 (11/8) @Coral