International friendly preview: England v Nigeria – Wembley Stadium – June 2
England host Nigeria and Costa Rica in two friendly internationals to be played at the Wembley and Leeds United’s ground on June 2nd and 7th respectively. England manager Gareth Southgate has named a 23-man squad for the clashes and it will be the same set of players who will travel to Russia for the World Cup 2018. The English squad comprises of the following;
Jack Butland (Stoke City), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley) – Goalkeepers / Phil Jones (Manchester Utd), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Kyle Walker (Man City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Ashley Young (Manchester Utd), John Stones (Manchester City), Harry Maguire (Leicester City) – Defenders / John Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Jesse Lingard (Manchester Utd), Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) – Mid-fielders / Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester Utd), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) – Forwards.
The Nigerian squad for the friendlies before they move to Russia is dotted with immense attacking talent and has big names like Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City), Victor Moses (Chelsea) and Alex Iwobi (Arsenal). The mid-field another another noteworthy name in the form of Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) while Francis Uzoho of La Liga club Deportivo La Coruna could be the first choice of goal-keeper.
For England the big omission will be the mercurial winger-cum-striker Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out with a knee injury sustained during Liverpool’s Champions League tie against Roma.
England and Nigeria have met twice before at international levels, once in the 2002 World Cup where both teams drew 0-0 and another in a friendly way back in 1994 which the African nation won 1-0.
For the Wembley clash, the home team could be a mite too strong for the Super Eagles as the bookmakers’ odds suggest. But the Nigerians with youth and attacking talent on their side shouldn’t be ruled out by any means.
The English starting XI for June 2nd’s Wembley clash is expected to be as follows
Pickford (goal); Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Dier, Henderson, Alli, Young; Kane, Sterling
Under 2.5 Goals, Best Odds 1.85 @ BWIN
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