Young guns set to start as England take on Ecuador
England entertain Ecuador full of confidence, having emerged victorious in both previous head to heads, including a 1-0 win courtesy of David Beckham in the last-16 of the Germany World Cup in 2006.
Roy Hodgson’s squad continue their warm up to the Brazil finals in Miami, with the manager prepared to call up several young stars in a refreshing line-up that could also include new Liverpool signing Rickie Lambert. The former Southampton striker is on 5/1 to be first on the scoresheet, and is also at 25/1 to seize his time to shine and be the game’s hat-trick hero.
The Three Lions will face an Ecuadorian team that have won just two of their previous 13 games. This makes England odds on at 5/6 to claim a third successive friendly victory, following the routine 3-0 Wembley win versus Peru and victory against Denmark in March.
Hodgson’s plans to rotate his first eleven may involve Luke Shaw, deputising for Leighton Baines, and starlets Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley, who are at 9/4 and 10/3 to score anytime respectively, also given a starting berth.
After Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka’s recent scoring heroics, the Manchester United defensive duo of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, a once impressive partnership for the England U21s, will be looking to stake a first-team claim.
With shot stopper Joe Hart back in top form after a shaky start to the season, Hodgson’s unwavering faith seems to have paid off. However, Ben Foster may borrow the gloves for this game, and The Three Lions are at 27/20 to keep a clean sheet.
Ecuador, 10/3 to pip a youthful England side to the post, will be hoping leading men Antonia Valencia and Felipe Caicedo can combine to create havoc against what may be relatively inexperienced opposition.
Valencia, famous for being Manchester United’s favourite one-footed winger, will have to contribute offensively as well as defensively if the South Americans are to secure a much needed, morale boosting win. Often performing at a higher level for country than for club, the fleet-footed wideman is at 5/1 to score for his home country against the nation in which he plies his trade.
Compatriot Felipe Caicedo will also be familiar to travelling fans, having played for Manchester City, the blue side of Manchester to Valencia’s red. Despite being contracted to the Premier League club from 2008 until 2011, he made just 27 appearances in a Sky Blue shirt, netting a paltry four goals.
Caicedo’s journey since arriving at the Etihad (then still Eastlands), has been something of a Grand European Tour, encompassing loan stints at Sporting Lisbon, Malaga and Levante, before an unsuccessful two-and-a-half seasons at Lokomotiv Moscow. Current Al-Jazira frontman Caicedo is 9/4 to hit the back of the net for his country.
Football fans from both sides will be hoping for more than a tame pre-tournament friendly, with the odds at 21/20 for both teams to score and 5/2 for a draw.