England welcome Republic of Ireland to Wembley Stadium in an international friendly just days after Greg Clarke resigned as the Three Lions’ Chairman.
This match represents the first meeting between these two teams since June 2015 in Dublin as England prepare for Sunday’s must win Nations League trip to Belgium, whilst Ireland look to end a goal drought heading into crucial matches against Wales and Bulgaria in their quest to avoid relegation.
James Ward-Prowse is ruled out for England after withdrawing from the squad with a hamstring injury, meaning that Jude Bellingham has been promoted from the U21s squad into the senior team.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is also absent after suffering a calf injury during Liverpool’s draw at Manchester City on Sunday, whilst teammate, Joe Gomez withdrew after suffering a knee injury in training.
Republic of Ireland will be without one unnamed player who is self-isolating after a positive Coronavirus test.
Enda Steven will this match plus Nations League games against Wales and Bulgaria due to a minor knee injury suffered in Sheffield United’s defeat at Chelsea on Saturday.
- England have lost just one of seven previous friendlies against Republic of Ireland (W2, D4, L1).
- Republic of Ireland are unbeaten in their last four matches against England in all competitions (W1, D3).
- Four of the last six meetings in all competitions finished in 1-1 draws whilst the other two ended goalless (D6), with two of those such results coming at Wembley.
- England’s defeat to Demark last month was their first home loss in ten matches across all competitions since losing 3-2 to Spain in September 2018 (W9, L1).
- Failing to score would see Ireland match their worst run of five consecutive matches without a goal which was set between November 1995 and May 1996 since acquiring their present name in 1954.
After a surprisingly weak display against Denmark last month with a much changed lineup, I expect to see Gareth Southgate ring the changes here although he should have an eye on building continuity between this team and the side who will face Belgium on Sunday,
England however do need to show a calmer tempo because some of their fouling were uncharacteristically aggressive compared to previous performances under Southgate’s management, because if they do that and show patience then chances should head their way.
Ireland meanwhile were simply poor in defence against Finland last time out despite showing promise in high tempo attacks, which ultimately lacked creativity upon goal in terms of finishing and power and it therefore isn’t hard to see why they’re struggling for goals.
Either way, I do expect a tightly fought contest because England should dominate but if Ireland can tighten up and find that extra quality in attack, they should be able to find something.
Prediction: England 2-1 ROI
Result: England 3-0 ROI