The main problem for Hodgson is that he is yet to see Wayne Rooney in an England shirt, although the Manchester United forward will obviously be lining up for the match against Ukraine when he’s back from suspension.
England are a best price 4/6 (William Hill free £25 bet) to claim victory against the Belgians and a win will certainly boost confidence levels in a week which has seen Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard withdraw from the squad.
It reduces Hodgson’s options in midfield and the central midfield pairing of Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker is likely to be tested out, providing that the latter is fit enough to play. There will also be another chance for Andy Carroll to play as the lone forward and perhaps the starting XI might be the team that lines up against France.
Carroll is a 9/2 chance (bet365 free bets) to score the first goal of this game and he was pretty effective the last time he played at Wembley, making a second-half impact as substitute during the FA Cup final and scoring before nearly equalising against Chelsea.
Ashley Young was the scorer of England’s only goal when they beat Norway 1-0 and the winger is a 6/1 chance to break the deadlock in this game, with the visitors hoping that captain Vincent Kompany will be fit for the encounter.
Belgium will be regarding this friendly match as an ideal chance to test themselves against one of the supposed best teams in Europe ahead of their 2014 World Cup campaign and perhaps they are overpriced to win the match at 5/1 (Ladbrokes).
After all, there will be a few players out to impress and that includes Chelsea’s latest signing Eden Hazard, with the playmaker having completed a big money move from Lille this week after keeping everyone in suspense with regard to which Premier League club he was set to join.
Hazard is clearly not short of confidence and can be backed at 16/1 (Paddy Power) to score the first goal of this match, while some might like the 6/1 about him scoring at any stage of the match, although Chelsea team-mates John Terry and Gary Cahill will be looking to prevent that from happening.
Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen make up a strong defensive unit for Belgium although there is the possibility that neither will play which weakens the argument for backing the outsiders, although England don’t look ready to dish out a hammering to anyone.
A 1-0 England win can be backed at 13/2 (BetVictor) and looks the most probable outcome while the Three Lions are available at 7/4 to win to nil, with Hodgson looking to continue keeping things tight.