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England host Australia in a friendly on Friday night in their first-ever encounter at Wembley Stadium. Gareth Southgate will be hoping for a positive performance with their Euros qualifier against Italy coming next Tuesday, and could also give some fringe players in the squad a chance to impress.
Last month’s international break saw the Three Lions draw 1-1 against Ukraine in a Euros qualifier played in Poland, before beating Scotland 3-1 at Hampden Park in a friendly to mark the 150th anniversary of the two nations’ first meeting.
England predicted lineup vs Australia
England vs Australia Team news
England have confirmed that Bukayo Saka has withdrawn from the squad with injury after being assessed by their medical team. The winger was left out of Arsenal’s squad for their 1-0 win over Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday because of an ongoing problem, but was named in Southgate’s original 26-man squad for England’s upcoming fixtures.
Here it is: your #ThreeLions squad for October! 👊
— England (@England) October 5, 2023
As it stands, it is unclear whether Southgate will call up a replacement for Saka, or whether he will just use a 25-man squad instead. It is likely that some fringe players will get minutes against Australia as it is a friendly, with the view that the Euros 2024 qualifier against Italy on Tuesday holds more importance.
England predicted lineup
Johnstone – Alexander-Arnold, Tomori, Colwill, Trippier – Phillips, Gallagher, Maddison – Bowen, Watkins, Grealish
England key players – Our top three
Ollie Watkins – Back with a bang
Watkins is back in the England squad after missing out on last month’s internationals. The striker has been in sensational form for Aston Villa, scoring seven goals and producing four assists in all competitions – including a hat-trick in Villa’s 6-1 thrashing of Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League in late September.
Looking ahead to Tuesday against Italy, Three Lions captain Harry Kane could get rested for the Australia clash, potentially leaving Watkins a chance to impress up front. He scored in his last appearance in an England shirt, in a 3-0 friendly win against Ivory Coast in March 2022.
James Maddison – Another man in-form
Maddison is another England player who has found form this season, producing two goals and five assists for his new club Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, helping them to the top of the table.
The 26-year-old only has four senior international caps to his name, however, and will be desperate for more minutes, and we have predicted him to have a big impact. Maddison was an unused substitute against Scotland last time out, but did start against Ukraine prior.
Jarrod Bowen – Saka’s replacement?
With Saka withdrawing from the squad, Bowen would be a natural replacement on the right-wing. He too has started the season off strongly, with five goals and two assists in nine games in all competitions.
Bowen only has four senior caps for England, and has not played for his country since June 2022, so this could be a big opportunity for him to impress ahead of Italy on Tuesday.
England predicted lineup vs Australia – The Final Word
England will want a positive result and performance against Australia in order to go into the Italy clash with maximum confidence. They are also playing the Socceroos for the first time at Wembley, and so will want to avoid a shock result.
Nonetheless, Southgate could also use this opportunity to look at some players on the fringes of the first XI, and give some of his more-established stars a rest ahead of Tuesday’s important qualifier.
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