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After the Harry Maguire episode and young starlets Phil Foden and Marcus Greenwood breaching Covid-19 regulations, Gareth Southgate will have to make do without Tammy Abraham, Ben Chillwell and Jadon Sancho for this fixture following a surprise birthday party for the former.
However, Ryan Giggs has the bigger concerns with Aaron Ramsey stuck in a bubble at Juventus after two staff members tested positive, while other key player Gareth Bale remains sidelined by injury.
England will still miss Chillwell having struggled without a natural left-footer in last month’s internationals, and Wales will certainly seek to contain their hosts for the most part.
Their matches are unbelievably low-scoring with just six of the past 31 seeing more than two goals, though it’s worth bearing in mind that all six exceptions have come during Giggs’ 21 games at the helm.
England didn’t display too much attacking prowess last month when travelling to Iceland and Denmark, but they had been devastating in Euro qualifiers as they racked up 37 goals from eight games.
However, despite that record, the Three Lions were favoured by the draw as they squared off with the likes of the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Kosovo and Montenegro.
Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling racked up 20 of those 37 goals, including 13 of 21 at home, but with both sides set to place more emphasis on their upcoming Nations League matches, we wouldn’t expect Southgate to risk his best players.
Sterling isn’t in the squad in any case, but ultimately national team managers will be looking at the club schedules this season and won’t want their key men unnecessary drained ahead of next summer.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin To Score Anytime
That could mean debuts for various players here, though one who looks destined to be handed a chance to impress is Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The Everton forward has taken advantage of Carlo Ancelotti’s summer rebuild that has provided him with a steady supply of chances, scoring nine times in six appearances this season already.
With most of England’s attacking players primarily operating in wide positions, there’s a traditional number nine role to cement in the squad as a reliable back up to Kane.
Wales shouldn’t be underestimated as they arrive at this fixture unbeaten in eight, but like England benefited from a weak qualifying group and the strongest side they faced during that run was Croatia in Cardiff.
Without the penetration offered by Bale and Ramsey, it’s difficult to see the visitors finding much joy in the final third.
England To Win To Nil
On home turf alone, England’s sole defeat in 22 matches has come at the hands of Spain, with even that seeing Danny Welbeck controversially denied a late equalizer.
That was also the only one from the last 10 at home that they’ve failed to win, and having won to nil in five of the last seven, a blunted Wales should struggle to prey upon England’s defensive weaknesses in the same manner as the top sides.
Indeed, home or away, the Three Lions have kept five consecutive clean sheets as they won four of these games.