Soon-to-be centurion Rooney can help continue England’s flying start
New England captain Wayne Rooney is now set to earn his 100th cap in a first versus second battle in Group E of Euro 2016 qualifying, against Slovenia.
Manchester United’s skipper is also chasing down the record number of international goals for the Three Lions, as he is just six off Sir Bobby Charlton’s unmatched total haul of 49, and one behind the prolific third-placed Jimmy Greaves.
Rooney is a Coral enhanced special price of 6/5 to net again anytime (max stake £20) in this match at Wembley on his landmark appearance, and a more enticing 11/4 to be first on the scoresheet for his nation that have won all three qualifying matches.
He could be partnered up front by rising star Saido Berahino, who recently got a goal against Rooney’s Red Devils in the Premier League. The Burundi-born striker has finally earned a call-up to the senior international set-up, after highly impressing for both his club and the England Under-21s.
Berahino can be backed odds-on at 10/11 to net anytime on his debut, and 7/2 to score last, as it is more likely he will start from the bench.
Roy Hodgson’s men will be looking to carry on their impressive form since their disappointing early exit from the World Cup in Brazil, as they have gained five successive clean sheets, from the goalless draw with Costa Rica.
The Three Lions, who have beaten Slovenia in their only two previous meetings (in the 2009/10 season), are odds-on 1/3 favourites for victory again, and a more enticing 3/4 to do so to nil.
Both head-to-heads between England and the former Yugoslav nation were closely fought, though, with just one goal in them. A tempting price of 19/5 says the hosts can win 1-0.
Coral, meanwhile, are offering a match-day special enhanced price of 5/2 for the Three Lions to win both halves of this fixture. You can place a maximum stake of £20.
Slovenia come into this encounter on the back of two successive victories in qualifying, against Switzerland and Lithuania, which has put them up in second place in Group E after three games. Srecko Katanec’s side are 10/1 chances to somehow snatch a win at Wembley, or 4/1 for a draw.
Veteran striker Milivoje Novakovic, who currently turns out for Japanese outfit Shimizu S-Pulse, got all three goals for his nation this campaign so far. The tall 35-year-old frontman is a 10/3 chance in the anytime market.
Hodgson will be unable to call upon Michael Carrick, Andros Townsend and Leighton Baines for this meeting, as they all pulled out due to injury. Therefore other returning members to the squad, Theo Walcott, Ross Barkley and Stewart Downing will all be looking for a starting place.
Downing, who last won an England cap in 2012, said prior the game: “I spoke before and said that I would probably find it difficult to get back in [to the England squad].”
“It’s obviously helped massively – the change in position. Playing out wide there is a lot of young talent here so you have got a lot of options in that position.
“I now need to carry that form into an England shirt and carry on playing well. I’d love to go to the Euros but just getting back in an England shirt is a big plus for me at the moment.”
The table-toppers Three Lions are now heavily odds-on favourites at 1/8 to win their group, following their 100 per cent start, while Slovenia are 10/1.