Fresh from the resounding 5-0 victory on Friday night over the Czech Republic, England can reinforce their place at the top of Group A with another victory at the Podgorica City Stadium. But Southgate is poised to make changes to his side in the hope of a first ever victory in Montengero.
With Eric Dier ruled out through the injury that he suffered against the Czech Republic, Southgate hands West Ham midfielder Declan Rice win his full debut, while Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi makes his first start too. But all eyes will be on Raheem Sterling after his brilliant display at Wembley as the Man City star looks to fire England towards qualification at the earliest opportunity. Follow it live:
We’re just ten minutes from kick-off in Podgorica!
England’s all-time record vs Montenegro:
Obviously a harder side to beat than it looks on paper…
England manager Gareth Southgate has been speaking beforehand:
On Jordan Henderson and Jadon Sancho dropping to the bench:
“Jordan had a slight issue during the week, so we’ll bring him from the bench if we need to. Jadon has played a lot of football, so we wanted to freshen it up with Callum.”
On Ross Barkley’s inclusion:
“What I’ve seen from Ross is a real improvement between our penalty box and half-way. What we want from him now is to really drive with the ball.”
On the hostile atmosphere which is expected:
“We’ve got to be adaptable. Every challenge is a different one. I’m really looking forward to seeing how we deal with that. There are things we won’t be able to control.”
If Harry Kane scores a penalty this evening, he will become the second England player to score seven penalties in a row.
The other player? Wayne Rooney.
The last time England played in Podgorica was a 2014 World Cup qualifier six years ago, when a Wayne Rooney goal was cancelled out late on by a Dejan Damjanovic goal.
Rooney was sent-off on the visit before that, in a 2-2 draw which secured England’s qualification for Euro 2012.
Actually, I’ve got a better stat than that for you…
This evening will be the first time in 29 years England have played two games in a row without a Manchester United player.
No Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw and Phil Jones in the squad means it’s the first time since autumn 1990 for it to happen.
An England win tonight will be the first time the side have won five matches in a row under Gareth Southgate.
The last time they won five consecutive games was under Roy Hodgson in 2015.
Happy birthday to Jadon Sancho, who turns 20 today!
You know what? I reckon the Montenegro fans will be a tad rowdy tonight. Just a hunch…
Incidentally, Jordan Henderson was set to make his 50th cap tonight, but is not quite fit enough to start after playing 90 minutes on Friday night. We shall see if he comes off the bench…
Here’s Miguel Delaney’s interview with him:
The scene for tonight’s clash.
Montenegro’s 15,000 capacity stadium, the Podgorica City Stadium, will no doubt provide a hostile atmosphere… quite an environment to make your first start for 18-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi and 20-year-old Declan Rice.
In case Friday’s 5-0 thumping of the Czech Republic has slipped your mind, here’s Chief Football Writer Miguel Delaney’s match report on a perfect start to England’s qualifying campaign for Euro 2020.
We love to get excited about a high quality England performance and this one was memorable for Raheem Sterling’s first ever hat-trick for the Three Lions!
For Montenegro, who drew 1-1 with Bulgaria on Friday, one change: ex-Manchester City defender Stefan Savic has passed a fitness test so comes in for Marko Jankovic.
Montenegro’s team in full: Petkovic; Stojkovic, Savic, Simic, Tomasevic; Marusic, Ivanic, Vukcevic, Vesovic; Beqiraj, Mugosa
The big news for England is that Callum Hudson-Odoi and Declan Rice both make their first England starts after making their debuts in Friday’s 5-0 win against the Czech Republic.
Four changes in total: Danny Rose, Ross Barkley, Hudson-Odoi and Rice come in for Ben Chilwell, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson and Jadon Sancho.
The team in full: Pickford; Walker, Maguire, Keane, Rose; Rice, Barkley, Alli; Sterling, Hudson-Odoi, Kane
Welcome along to all the live action from Podgorica as England take on Montenegro, looking to make it two wins out of two in Euro 2020 qualifying. We’ll have all the teams and latest updates coming right up…
When is it?
Montenegro vs England takes place on Monday 25 March at the Podgorica City Stadium.
What time does it start?
The match kicks off at 7:45pm GMT (8:45pm CET).
Where can I watch it?
The match will be shown live on ITV from 7pm. Highlights will be shown on ITV from 10:45pm. You can follow the action live with The Independent’s match commentary throughout the evening.
Montenegro: Petkovic; Stojkovic, Tomasevic, Vesovic, Simic; Vukcevic, Janokovic; Jovovic, Kosovic, Ivanic; Mugosa.
England: Pickford; Walker, Keane, Maguire, Chilwell; Henderson, Rice, Barkley; Hudson-Odoi, Sterling; Kane.
Montenegro to win: 19/2
England to win: 1/3
(Odds provided by Betfair)
Montenegro 0-3 England
The Czech Republic, on paper, are England’s toughest opposition in Group A, but the way that Southgate’s side swatted them away last week shows how much confidence is running through this current crop of players. The journey to Montenegro should mean that England don’t have it all their own way, but there is enough talent in the squad to emerge unscathed and keep another clean sheet in the process.
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