England fringe players and Irish have bigger fish to fry, so back draw
All of the last four encounters between British Isles sides England and the Republic of Ireland have ended in 1-1 draws. As both sides face key Euro 2016 qualifiers following this fixture, Coral make another share of the spoils an 11/5 chance and that precise scoreline again 11/2.
Roy Hodgson’s intentions appear clear based on the roster he has chosen; an experimental Three Lions starting XI should take to the field in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, so key players can concentrate on the subsequent competitive trip to Slovenia.
England are nonetheless 11/10 favourites for victory, despite having their post-World Cup run of seven straight victories ended when held by Italy in Turin last time out. What the new faces included by Hodgson have here is an opportunity to force their way into his thinking.
Chief among those is QPR’s leading marksman Charlie Austin. Only Harry Kane, on Under-21 duty, scored more goals in the Premier League than this rags to riches story last term and can call himself English.
Austin is superb value at 7/4 to net on a potential international debut, while fellow relegation battler Jamie Vardy is a 6/1 shot to score last after his grafting exploits for Leicester City.
Theo Walcott will want to press his claims now that he is back to his best in Arsenal shirt following serious injury. He has four in his last two appearances, and that is reflected in anytime odds of 6/4. Ross Barkley (5/1 in that market) and late call-up Tom Cleverley may get runs out here too.
Despite hosting their rivals, the Irish are 13/5 outsiders for a home win and will also welcome another opponent from Britain in Scotland to Dublin next. Everton winger Aiden McGeady has admitted the England encounter plays second fiddle to that forthcoming fixture.
“The England one is obviously a big game as well, but the Scotland one’s the big one, obviously,” he said. If Republic management duo Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane agree, then they’ll be fielding some fringe players of their own.
Among those should be midfield all-rounder Harry Arter, who will play in the Premier League next season after clinching the Championship title with Bournemouth. Featuring against the Three Lions would be his senior Ireland debut, and Arter is a 5/1 shot to cap his bow with a goal anytime. McGeady is the same price, while Derby County box-to-box operator Jeff Hendrick is longer at 6/1.
Southampton striker Shane Long grabbed the opener when these two teams last met two years ago, and is an 8/1 shot to net first again. He’s safer at 11/4 in the anytime market, alongside 2014/15 Championship top scorer Daryl Murphy.
It’s pretty clear neither team are going to play their full hand, despite the ferocity that once surrounded this fixture. Both England and the Republic of Ireland frankly have bigger fish to fry the following week.
Coral betting tip: We don’t often say back a draw, but here those awesome odds of 11/2 for an experimental England line-up to come away with honours even at 1-1 look well worth considering.