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Friendlies

  • November 17, 2010
  • • 20:00
  • • Wembley Stadium, London
  • Referee: C. Larsen
  • • Attendance: 85495
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International Friendly Preview: England - France

International Friendly Preview: England - France

Settling of old scores in battle of the young ones

England’s last game against France at headquarters was in 1999, when half the England squad were probably still munching on cocoa pops before school. Under the disappointed eye of the Twin Towers, Les Bleues ran out 2-0 winners, and England have not beaten the French since 1997.

With a fresh look to Capello’s squad, perhaps an answer to people calling for an overhaul in the team, the Italian has combined youth with uncapped players. Jay Bothroyd is perhaps the most surprising of these choices, but he is keen to show this is not a flash in the pan.

"Once you get a taste you want to do well and stay in," Bothroyd said. "If I am involved on Wednesday it will be another great day for me."

Another new face, Sunderland’s Jordan Henderson was quick to acknowledge the stab at the big time he has been offered.

He said: "It's a great opportunity for me and a few of the younger lads to show what we can do. I'll do everything to try and take that chance.

Mutiny on le Bounty, just a storm in a tea-cup says Blanc

France have had an overhaul too. Unfortunately, this was enforced after the mutineers from the World Cup were given indefinite relegations from Blanc’s squad. Eric Abidal, who escaped any sanctions for his role, is an intriguing inclusion.

Blanc disagrees, saying: "He has played very often recently and to become a regular at a club like Barcelona is no mean feat.

"He is still a player who can play a major part in the French starting XI."

In what is a fairly young and inexperienced squad – especially after Philippe Mexes' injury – France may be there for the taking. That aside, France have won three of the last five meetings, and always seem to find an extra gear against Blighty.

TEAM NEWS


England


This is a test of future prospects for Fabio Capello, as senior squad withdrawals have allowed young talents to stake a claim.

Chelsea duo John Terry and Ashley Cole and Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor pulled out of the squad on Sunday evening after picking up injuries in recent Premier League games. Stephen Warnock, Gary Cahill and Carlton Cole have been called up as cover. Frank Lampard is a long-term absentee.

With regular strikers Jermain Defoe and Wayne Rooney (both ankle) injured, and Emile Heskey retired, Capello has revealed he will hand Andy Carroll his debut after he came through an injury worry. The Newcastle forward will start the game along with fellow fresh face Jordan Henderson and the only slightly more experienced Kieran Gibbs.

Other intriguing admissions to the squad include Manchester City’s Micah Richards and Manchester United's Chris Smalling, but unfortunately Arsenal's Jack Wilshere will miss the game after suffering a knock in training.

Possible starting XI: Hart; Richards, Ferdinand, Jagielka, Gibbs; Milner, Gerrard, Barry, Henderson; Walcott; Carroll.

France

Tottenham’s Younes Kaboul has been drafted in at the last minute to cover for Roma’s Philippe Mexes who picked up a calf injury over the weekend.

The major inclusion for Laurent Blanc is left-back Eric Abidal, who gets his first inclusion since France’s horror World Cup showing.

The French squad has a distinct Premier League essence to it as, along with Kaboul, Chelsea’s Florent Malouda and Arsenal trio Bacary Sagna, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy are all in contention for a starting spot.

With Nicolas Anelka banned and Karim Benzema misfiring for Madrid, Loic Remy may start up front.

Possible starting XI: Lloris; Sagna, Rami, Sakho, Abidal; Diarra, M’Vila; Gourcuff, Nasri, Malouda; Remy.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
Players to Watch
Jordan Henderson
Jordan Henderson
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 8
Games Goals YC RC
4 0 0 0
The Sunderland midfielder has been quietly putting in match winning performances for the Black Cats for the last year since breaking into the first-team, but manager Steve Bruce will not be surprised to see the 20-year-old handed his first Three Lions start.

Bruce praised his youngtser after the shock win at Chelsea on Sunday, where Henderson set up Asamoah Gyan's goal with a clever slide pass. More of the same against France and he could see further full England caps.
Samir Nasri
Samir Nasri
Position:
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Any one of the English-based contingent has potential, but for this one Samir Nasri is the pick. With the scandal, Nasri has been thrust into a senior squad member status at the tender age of 23 and with little more than 20 caps to his name. In a team of young, talented playmakers, this is a perfect setting to fulfil his tag of the ‘French Pele’.
Prediction
Both squads are young, both managers have a point to prove to their FAs, both are old adversaries. It should be a recipe for a close encounter, but despite a partisan crowd, England's lack of strikers may have them scratching around. France have a plethora of young goalscorers.
Editor's Prediction
France 2

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