Sam Allardyce was brought in as England manager to brighten up a stale and white-hot national side by shining a flame in an anemic side, but so far Allardyce’s boldness has been sorely criticised for a lack of winning streaks and it appears he might already be a failure…unless he can give the national team a winning start tonight against San Marino…
Harry Kane has had a strong start to the new year, scoring in each of his three games and was named man of the match in the 2-0 friendly win over Germany two weeks ago. Kane’s two Premier League goals against Arsenal and Tottenham also suggest he has yet to receive a warning for England, as the only player mentioned as a dark horse in next summer’s World Cup draw was. Despite the concerns over Kane, it’s still difficult to imagine any other forward in the world being better.
After last week’s 2-0 win over Belgium which boosted Allardyce’s spirits following a disappointing performance against Malta, England don’t seem to be underestimating their group minnows opponents. All the pre-match hype surrounding the part-timers is that they are seeking their first win against international rivals.
England Travelers look in good shape, for the most part, with Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Jordan Henderson, and Eric Dier all available to go. The one major concern with England is coming up with an attacking formation, or a formation as Allardyce appears to prefer, without six regulars as they’re away on holiday for the next two weeks.
England Predicted Line-Up
Wright (left), Jones, Traore, Stones, Maguire, Dier, Henderson, De Bruyne, Sterling, Kane
Manager Sam Allardyce has given debuts to six Under-21 players in his first two games in charge of England, none of which managed to make the squad for the opener in Slovenia. The likes of Jermain Defoe, Ben Chilwell, James Ward-Prowse, Lewis Cook, and Danny Rose have all made a great first impression for Allardyce and show huge promise for the future.
England will be hoping to have Harry Kane back to full fitness, with an eye on the World Cup in Russia later this year.
England Fixture Schedule
November 16, 2017: San Marino
December 5, 2017: Germany
December 10, 2017: Lithuania
January 6, 2018: Scotland
January 11, 2018: Lithuania
January 15, 2018: Italy
April 6, 2018: Spain
England were held by Spain 1-1 at Wembley on Saturday, with Jesse Lingard scoring an injury time equalizer. England must beat Slovenia on Thursday in their next match to top Group F and move to the front of the line for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The lack of Premier League players on the English squad against Switzerland was expected following the moderate showing from teams like Watford and Bournemouth, but rather than show any form of weakness, both those sides continue to entertain with positive results.
There will be a lot on the line for both of those clubs with places in the European Champions League at stake in their next matches, to be played on Thursday. England and Spain face-off on Tuesday night, and a good performance against Spain would be a huge positive for Allardyce’s team.
England will try to further heal the wounds of under-performing in their last four matches in their next two internationals, hosting Slovenia on Thursday, before traveling to Maribor for a European qualifier against Slovenia on Tuesday.
England will want to put a positive spin on both San Marino and Slovenia, with chances at the 2018 World Cup at stake, and they should take care of business with San Marino. The loss against Spain in the midweek game was a blip for Allardyce and his youthful squad, but things should settle down against Slovenia and San Marino in November.