England‘s preparation for the European Championship in France begins with a friendly against Turkey at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium this weekend (5.15pm Sunday on ITV1).
Roy Hodgson named a preliminary 26-man squad for Euro 2016 on Monday, with the Three Lions’ performances in preparation matches likely to influence the manager’s thinking when it comes to deciding which 23 players will make the final cut and which three will miss out and remain at home.
England qualified for the Euros in style, winning all ten of their games while scoring 31 goals and conceding only three. Friendly victories over France and Germany have further boosted the belief that England could make an impression at the tournament, with many supporters hoping that a young and relatively new-look group will thrive without being encumbered by previous English failings in recent years. Hodgson may use the Turkey clash as a chance to trial different tactics, formations and individuals ahead of the big kick-off next month, with the nature of England’s display taking precedence over the result.
Turkey will also be taking part in the Euros having qualified as the best third-placed side across all nine groups. Fatih Terim’s men have been drawn into one of the toughest segments of the finals, with Spain, Croatia and Czech Republic their opponents in the initial stage. Regardless of their difficult draw, though, the Turks will be aiming to reach the knockout rounds of the competition. There are friendlies against Montenegro and Slovenia to come before their opening encounter with Croatia on 12 June, but taking the scalp of England is probably Terim’s principal target in his side’s warm-up games.
England will have to make do without Manchester United stars Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling and Marcus Rashford, with the trio all involved in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Crystal Palace at Wembley. Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane is likely to start up top, where he could be partnered by Jamie Vardy or Daniel Sturridge (pictured), while Dele Alli will be hoping to begin the game in the No.10 position. Hodgson should name his strongest XI at the start of the match, which would provide an interesting indication of what his plans for the opener with Russia are at this moment in time.
Turkey boss Terim has named a 31-player preliminary squad, which includes Liverpool midfielder Emre Can, Barcelona’s Arda Turan, Borussia Dortmund’s Nuri Sahin and Hakan Calhanoglu of Bayer Leverkusen. The ex-Galatasaray, AC Milan and Fiorentina manager will probably have made up his mind about a number of the spots in his final group, but there will still be some places up for grabs, with friendlies against the likes of England likely to shape Terim’s thinking in that regard.
Our preview’s England v Turkey Betting Tips Predictions
When considering this preview’s betting tips, it is difficult to look past an England victory at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon. While Hodgson will be keen to give as many players some meaningful game time as possible, he will still want to win the match in order to boost confidence and self-belief ahead of the competition getting under way in three weeks’ time. Even leaving aside such motivations, England simply have a superior side to Turkey. While their opponents should not be written off, it is clear to see why the hosts are rated as favourites to triumph.
In terms of potential goalscorers, Rooney, Vardy, Sturridge and Kane are all good options, but the best bet could be backing Jack Wilshere to find the back of the net. Hodgson, after all, is likely to give him as many minutes on the pitch as possible in order to increase his fitness levels before the clash with Russia, with the Arsenal midfielder desperate to impress after a frustrating domestic campaign.
- Betting Tip: England to beat Turkey by the correct score margin of 3-1 @ biggest odds of 14/1 with BetVictor, William Hill and Betfair.
- Betting Tip: Jack Wilshere to score at anytime @ 5/1 with Paddy Power.
Greg Lea is a freelance sports writer. Read the articles that he has written at Just Bookies.