England vs Wales preview, team news, kick-off

Wednesday 7 October 2020 22:53, UK

Team news and stats ahead of England vs Wales in their international friendly at Wembley on Thursday (kick-off 8pm).

The two home nations will go head-to-head for the first time since England’s dramatic last-gasp win at Euro 2016, which did little to dent the ambitions of a Wales side who would go on to reach the tournament’s semi-finals.

Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions side, ahead of their first game at Wembley since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in March, have been hit by a number of absentees from what was originally a 30-man squad, with Ben Chilwell, Tammy Abraham and Jadon Sancho all ruled out after attending Abraham’s surprise birthday party on Sunday, the day before the trio were due to link up with their team-mates at St George’s Park.

The game will act as a precursor for both side’s Nations League double-headers over the international break. England face Belgium on Sunday and Denmark next Wednesday, while Wales visit Ireland and Bulgaria respectively on the same days. All four games will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.

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Team news

In the absence of Chilwell, Abraham and Sancho, and with Raheem Sterling’s withdrawal through injury, Reece James could be in line for an England debut after his first call-up to the full squad.

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Aaron Ramsey will miss out for Wales as a result of coronavirus procedures following a positive test in the Juventus staff.

What have the managers said…

England manager Gareth Southgate: “We have got 10 players this time who were with us in Russia (for the 2018 World Cup).

“They’ve played well and got results. Some of the younger ones haven’t done that yet with England. They don’t have that credit in the bank.

“They’ve got to prove themselves and they need to remember that it is an honour to play for England.”

Wales boss Ryan Giggs: “We’ve got great momentum going into the game and we want to keep that
momentum up. We realise it’s a tough game and England have got some quality players.

“They could pick two or three teams and we know whatever team they put out, it’s going to be a difficult match for us. But we’re excited about the game and it will be a great occasion for our players.”

Opta stats

  • England have won their last five matches against Wales, last enjoying a longer winning run against the Dragons between March 1908 and March 1914, a seven-game winning run.
  • Wales have won just one of their 17 matches against England at Wembley (D5 L11), winning 1-0 in May 1977 in a Home Nations match; Leighton James scored the winner from the penalty spot.
  • This is only the seventh ever friendly match between England and Wales and the first since March 1976, a 2-1 win at the Racecourse Ground for the Three Lions. In England, it is the first friendly match between the nations since February 1883, when a Clement Mitchell hat-trick helped England to a 5-0 win at the Kennington Oval.
  • England are unbeaten in their last eight friendly matches (W5 D3) since a 3-2 defeat against France in June 2017. The Three Lions have shipped just two goals in those eight matches.
  • Wales are looking to win five consecutive matches for the first time since 1981 (six in a row).
  • England have won 12 of their last 14 home matches (D1 L1) against fellow home nations (Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales), with their one defeat in this sequence coming against Scotland in November 1999 at Wembley in a Euro 2000 play-off match.
  • England are looking to keep six consecutive clean sheets for the first time since October 2006 – the Three Lions have faced 35 shots in their last five games with an expected goal value of 3.5 combined.
  • England’s Raheem Sterling has scored 11 goals in his last 13 appearances for his country – however, Sterling is yet to find the net for the Three Lions in a non-competitive international, playing in 17 friendlies without scoring, with his 13 goals all coming in competitive matches.

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