With the likes of Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley and Chris Smalling in the England squad, Fabio Capello will be looking to his senior players to guide the side through the Euro qualifier with Bulgaria tomorrow.
Steven Gerrard and Jack Wilshere are missing from tomorrow’s game which means Scott Parker is likely to be handed a start against Bulgaria, and his role will be an important one.
Unless Capello decides to hand Cleverly a start, it’s likely that Capello will favour a 4-5-1 formation that he has favoured in England’s last two qualifiers with Switzerland and Wales, although that means either Rooney will play in a wider role or Darren Bent will sit on the bench.
Capello is likely to go for a three man midfield of Parker, Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry with Rooney, Bent, Ashley Young, Stewart Downing and Theo Walcott all vying for the three forward spots.
England are the 8/13 favourites to win on Friday evening in Sofia with Bulgaria available at 5/1.
Bulgaria have never beaten England but have managed to hold England to three draws in seven clashes.
Twice the two teams have met in Bulgaria and England won 3-0 back in 1979 and the two teams played out a 1-1 draw back in 1999, and England should be weary of the threat Bulgaria will pose in Sofia.
Bulgaria have managed just the one friendly victory in their five games this year although they have drawn both of their European Championships qualifiers with Switzerland and Montenegro – that draw in Montenegro is impressive considering the Montenegrins top the group.
The draw is available at 13/5 and the England midfield will have to be at their best if they are to take all three points in Sofia.
Parker will have been given a huge confidence boost following his move to Tottenham Hotspur yesterday and with Lampard and Barry yet to hit top form, Parker has the chance to make his mark on the game.