England boost as Slovenia talent’s exit leaves hosts in chaos


There’s clearly trouble brewing in the Slovenia camp ahead of England’s visit to Ljubljana, where Gareth Southgate’s side are 4/6 favourites to maintain their 100 per cent record in World Cup 2018 qualifying.

Bayer Leverkusen’s Kevin Kampl, arguably the hosts’ most high-profile outfield player, has been labelled a deserter in a joint-statement by the rest of the squad after pulling out of the match, citing fatigue.

The move to slam Kampl seems a little off considering the 26-year-old spent 74 days on the sidelines during the second half of last season due to various injuries, including two bone fractures, yet has played every Bundesliga and Champions League minute for his club so far this term.

Kampl sought to clarify his situation after rumours of a bust-up between the Germany-born star and Slovenia boss Srecko Katanec, releasing the following statement:

“First, I always play with pride and happiness for Slovenia and I intend to do so in the future.

“Second, I have made it clear I will be available next time, I just need some rest now.

“Third, I swear that at the moment I am not in the right condition to help Slovenia.”

Katanec and co are big outsiders at 19/4 with us to see off Southgate’s side at Stozice Stadium, but Slovenia will be quietly confident of causing an upset after downing Slovakia in Group F last time out at the same venue without Kampl’s help.

England have struggled for dominance so far in qualifying, beating Slovakia 1-0 away with the last kick of the game during Sam Allardyce’s only match in charge, then labouring to a 2-0 win at Wembley against tiny Malta under Gareth Southgate at the weekend.

Incidentally, you can back the draw at 12/5, although England have won all four of their past fixtures against these foes, by one goal each time.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.