England boss Fabio Capello is often criticised in the media for sticking with the big names and refusing to call up less fashionable players in good form, but that won’t be a charge levelled at him this week after he picked an adventurous squad for the France friendly.
Championship top goalscorer Jay Bothroyd leads a quartet of newcomers, with the Cardiff striker rewarded for a run of eight goals in six games, while Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson and Chris Smalling were also called upon for the first time.
There have been some suggestions that rather than being a positive that indicates that form players in the Championship do have a chance of earning international recognition, Bothroyd’s selection shows that England are severely lacking in depth up front. The Arsenal trainee is 11/4 to silence his doubters with a goal.
Admittedly, Bothroyd, Carroll, Peter Crouch, Gabriel Agbonlahor and late addition Carlton Cole are unlikely to cause France boss Laurent Blanc to lose sleep, however it should be noted that Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Darren Bent and Bobby Zamora are all injured, while Kevin Davies has been overlooked. England are 7/1 to suffer a second successive Wembley stalemate.
The other area of intrigue is at right back, as regular starter Glen Johnson has been ignored, perhaps because he has recently returned from injury, so Micah Richards has received a long-awaited recall, despite only featuring sporadically for Manchester City this season.
France are unbeaten in four meetings with the Three Lions and head to London on a run of three straight 2-0 victories that have helped gradually dull the memories of their dismal World Cup campaign.
Les Bleus are 5/2 to take all three points. See the full England vs France match betting odds market.