England manager Roy Hodgson is set to give youth a chance in tonight’s friendly in Sweden as the hosts celebrate the opening of a new national stadium in Solna.
Liverpool youngster, Raheem Sterling is expected to win his first cap by starting the match alongside fellow debutantes Steven Caulker and Leon Osman as Roy Hodgson plans to give some of the England fringe players a chance.
Only five of the England team that faced Sweden in the Euros are expected to start again tonight as the manager has opened the door for players like Cahill, Baines and Cleverley to nail down their position in the team.
Roy Hodgson’s England team is still finding it’s feet and wednesday’s friendly against Sweden will give the boss another chance to assess youngsters, players returning from injury and untried Premier League regulars.
After the withdrawals of Rooney, Walcott, Shelvey, Walker and Lennon from this squad, Hodgson has had the chance to add even more options to his England radar as he has already picked 46 players in his short time as manager.
Youngsters Carl Jenkinson and Wilfried Zaha have been added to the squad along with Tom Huddlestone, Jermain Defoe and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as the manager is keen to give other players a chance in Sweden.
The expected England team is certainly experimental but with an edge of stability and experience.
The unknown quantities of Sterling, Osman and Caulker are balanced with the spine of experience running through the side with Joe Hart, Glen Johnson and captain Steven Gerrard, who is expected to win his 100th cap.
The England line up also includes a very pacey front three with Welbeck leading the attack and Young and Sterling on opposite flanks while the midfield of Gerrard, Osman and Cleverley seems very fluid and interchangeable.
However the home side have shown very little change from the Euro’s and will still look towards talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic to be the architect of a maiden victory in the Friends Arena.
Promising Premier League star and Fulham winger Alexander Kačaniklić is set to win his fourth cap for Sweden as the youngster adds some real trickery and pace to a side that can also look toward the technical prowess of midfielders Sebastian Larsson, Kim Kallstrom and Rasmus Elm.
This is a tricky fixture for England and will certainly have to put on a better performance than what was seen in Warsaw in October as the Swede’s will surely be going all out to christen the opening of their new stadium with a glorious victory over England.
Roy Hodgson has picked a very capable line up who certainly have enough to win the game, but because of the lack of experience in playing with eachother this could halt Englands chances of victory.
Swedish football is something Roy Hodgson knows very well and will no doubt have a few tactical treats up his sleeve with the exciting talents of Zaha, Wilshere and Defoe on the bench.
This game, like many other Sweden vs England clashes in the past, is a tough one to call and I expect this friendly will be a rather entertaining affair aswell.
If Sweden decide to really go for it and get Ibrahimovic into the game then it could be a tough night for Roy’s boys, but if England can keep the striker at bay and move quickly on the counter attack then the Swedish party could be well and truly spoilt.
I fancy a 2-2 draw for tonight, it’ll be a another tight game, but one that will be played with great intensity that should be a great spectacle for the fans.
It’s a big night for Swedish football and is arguably just as important an evening for England and their fringe players. If Osman, Caulker, Sterling and Zaha want to be in Roy’s future plans then they need to deliver tonight and prove that experimentation in friendlies is the way forward for England.
Expected Sweden Team: Andreas Isaksson, Mikael Lustig, Jonas Olsson, Andreas Granqvist, Martin Olsson, Rasmus Elm, Sebastian Larsson, Kim Kallstrom, Marcus Berg, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexander Kačaniklić
Expected England Team: Joe Hart, Glen Johnson, Gary Cahill, Steven Caulker, Leighton Baines, Steven Gerrard, Tom Cleverley, Leon Osman, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young.