Don’t expect Three Lions to turn up the heat on Chile

ROY Hodgson was always likely to shuffle his pack for Chile’s visit to Wembley tonight but a series of injuries have forced his hand.

Captain Steven Gerrard is joined on the sidelines by fellow first teamers Kyle Walker, Michael Carrick and Danny Welbeck.

Furthermore, Jack Wilshere and Daniel Sturridge are nursing ankle and foot injuries respectively.

Even still, most Three Lions fans heading to north west London will probably be expecting the hosts to see off their South American visitors.

But then they probably thought the same last time Chile were in town – before a Marcelo Salas brace silenced the home crowd.

The consolation from that shock 2-0 defeat in February 1998 was the sight of an 18-year-old Michael Owen making his England bow and it will be interesting to see whether the uncapped trio of Fraser Forster, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez make their debuts in this game.

Given that England are not as short with the bookies as they might expect to be, they will have plenty of support at 10/11 with Coral, but I’d be wary of steaming in.

It is never the most accurate barometer of a team’s quality, but Chile, in 12th, are only two places below England in the current Fifa rankings.

They are Brazil-bound after finishing third in South American qualifying and reached the second round at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

And thanks to goalless draws in this fixture in 1984 and 1989 they haven’t lost to England since 1953.

In their previous three friendlies, England drew with the Republic of Ireland and Brazil, before coming from behind to beat Scotland.

England haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last six exhibition games. I don’t see them ending that run here with an unfamiliar line-up and particular question marks hanging over the goalkeeper department, no matter who wears the gloves out of Forster, Joe Hart and John Ruddy.

A marker of Chile’s attacking capabilities is that they have scored in 15 of their last 16 internationals.

Coral’s 21/10 for the draw looks a good bet to me and I’m going to have a nibble on the 1-1 correct score with the same firm at 6/1.

With Sporting Index trading total goals at 2.6-2.8, I’d advise spread bettors to sell.

■ Pointers…
Draw at 21/10 with Coral
1-1 correct score at 6/1 with Coral
Sell goals at 2.6 with Sporting Index