Roy Hodgson is set to hand full England debuts to three players as he prepares to face Sweden in an international friendly in Stockholm.
After seeing five of his original squad, including Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott, withdraw due to injuries picked up with their clubs, Hodgson is set to start Raheem Sterling, Steven Caulker and Leon Osman of Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton respectively for the clash at the Friends Arena.
Elsewhere, Arsenal’s Carl Jenkinson and Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha could also be handed debuts from the substitutes bench, while captain Steven Gerrard is expected to be fit to start and earn his 100th cap for his country after being given the all clear on a knee problem.
The possible debuts of Jenkinson, Sterling and Zaha have all courted interest due to their eligibility to play for other nations in Finland, Jamaica and the Ivory Coast respectively, due to FIFA’s classification of Wednesday night’s clash as a “non-competitive” match.
Home side Sweden are expected to include several familiar names to British audience, such as Celtic and Blackburn full-backs Mikael Lustig and Martin Olsson, West Brom central-defender Jonas Olsson, Sunderland and Fulham midfielders Sebastian Larsson and Alex Kacaniklic, as well as their attacking spearhead, Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Paris Saint-Germain.
The fixture, England’s last of 2012, is a re-match of the clash between the two sides at Euro 2012, which England won 3-2 and thus eliminated Erik Hamren’s side from the competition, courtesy of two late goals from Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck after two Olof Mellberg goals had almost gifted Sweden the victory.
Confirmed England starting XI: Hart, Johnson, Cahill, Caulker, Baines, Gerrard, Cleverley, Osman, Sterling, Welbeck, Young
TV: ITV1 (UK)
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