At long last England face a team of magnitude after the sham of Euro 2016 qualifying, but how many Three Lions stars would earn a spot in a combined XI with European champions Spain?
The simple answer perhaps, is not many. Although the Spanish suffered a similar disaster at the last World Cup, relinquishing their crown in the groups stages, Vicente del Bosque’s squad to face England in Alicante is still plastered with top talent.
Some of these are World and European champions of course, while Del Bosque also has a fresh generation of stars nipping at the heels of Andreas Iniesta and co.
Based on the available players for the fixture, the Ladbrokes News team have compiled one of their famous combined XIs and although it’s no great shock to see Spain dominate, there are some England stars dotted about the place.
Whilst Hodgson’s men are far less experienced in many areas of the pitch, the talent pool of young players is arguably the deepest it has been for some years.
See if you agree or disagree with the below line up?
David De Gea is the obvious choice in the net, while Barcelona’s Jordi Alba is in a class of his own at left-back. Sergio Ramos’ absence through injury opens up a spot for the man Gerard Pique recently placed in his world XI; John Stones.
Nathaniel Clyne has been consistent for Liverpool this season and although Real Madrid right-back William Carvajal may well have got the nod had he been available, the England man is deemed better than any Spanish deputy.
The engine room is exclusively Spanish given the depths of world-class resources available to Del Bosque.
Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets is the finest holding midfielder in the business; Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara should still be playing alongside him at the Camp Nou, and Iniesta is Iniesta.
However, further joy for England can be found towards the front as in-form Manchester City star Raheem Sterling is given licence to roam in a number 10 role.
Ahead of the former Red, Harry Kane is also flying the St George’s flag. The Tottenham sensation has returned to form for club and country and deserves his place.
Although there are bigger names in both squads to partner Kane, Wayne Rooney included, the likes of Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata are simply off colour at present.
That’s why Valencia’s Francisco Alcacer is chosen. Alcacer top-scored for La Roja in qualification, with five and has hit four goals in as many games for Los Che.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.