Three Lions to fire in Turkey test set to feature intriguing England pairing
Holly Thackeray | May 20, 2016
England v Turkey
- International friendly
- Sunday, May 22nd
- Kick-off: 17:15 BST
- Etihad Stadium, Manchester
- Live on ITV 1
Three Lions to topple Turkey
Euro 2016 hopefuls England encounter Turkey in their latest international friendly outing on Sunday evening, as the Three Lions continue their warm up for the France finals.
With the hallowed turf at Wembley having been rigorously used for Football League play-offs and Saturday’s FA Cup final between Manchester United and Crystal Palace, England will instead turn out for this fray at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.
As England have impressively never lost to Turkey (7/1 outsiders with Coral to triumph), who are rated just three places behind the Home Nation in the FIFA standings at 13th, in 10 previous contests, the Three Lions are understandably odds-on 4/9 favourites to take plaudits on home soil.
Turkey have twice held their upcoming hosts to draws (with a third priced at 16/5), but amazingly the Crescent-Stars have yet to sink a single goal past England, which makes Roy Hodgson’s men a marvellous 21/20 to win to nil, or an alternative better value 13/5 to win both halves.
The Three Lions always usually fire plenty past this Asian gateway nation, with 15 struck in the last five dust-ups, so why not enjoy an 11/5 dabble for the hosts to notch three or more in Manchester?
Missing cup contingents to allow for England experiment
What could give this match-up an edge, and why England look set to score a hatful, is that several key players will be missing from Hodgson’s squad due to domestic club commitments.
Having been involved in the FA Cup final on Saturday, captain Wayne Rooney and surprise call-up Marcus Rashford are not expected to take part, with Daniel Sturridge also out after featuring in Liverpool’s midweek Europa League final loss.
Customers could rightly ask why this makes England exciting in attack. Well, the answer is with the strike pairing Hodgson is mooted to have selected to start instead – namely Premier League Golden Boot winner Harry Kane and runner-up Jamie Vardy.
Between them, the free-scoring strikers have notched 49 this season in England’s top tier and could finally start together as a twosome up top, with Vardy usually a substitute or shunted out wide.
So, punters should pounce on the pair accordingly, with Tottenham hitman Kane (7/2 to strike first, or 4/1 to dispatch a double or more) in fearsome form for both club and country, while Leicester City hero and Premier League champion Vardy (4/1 for the final goal) has two in as many of his last matches for the Three Lions.
Midfield sensation Dele Alli of Spurs has also shown an exceptional eye for goal on England duty and is 19/10 to notch anytime, while Everton’s Ross Barkley is a similarly intriguing 11/4 to add to his senior international tally.
As for defence, with Chris Smalling also set for the FA Cup final, Gary Cahill and John Stones are expected to get the nod at centre back despite below par seasons at club level.
Terim’s Turkey talents eager to erase record
Of course, veteran coach Fatih Terim will be aiming to rectify the Crescent-Stars’ losing record against England, and his tenacious Turkey team are by no stretch of the imagination a walk-over.
Still, tinkering of the Turkish XI will be required with captain and attacking catalyst Arda Turan to miss out due to Barcelona’s Copa del Rey final, while Nuri Sahin will similarly be absent for Borussia Dortmund DFB Pokal final duty.
There are still threats the Three Lions should guard against though, as Hakan Calhanoglu (4/1 to dispatch anytime) of Bayer Leverkusen is renowned for his set-piece prowess, something Turkey should exploit with Smalling missing. Striker Cenk Tosun of Besiktas fame has also found the net for his nation three times in seven games, so is a tempting 2/1 chance to be on target if experimental England leave any gaps at the back.
Coral’s top tip: England look excellent value at 11/5 to score three or more.