There have been some surprise inclusions in the Three Lions squad for this friendly, including Tottenham duo Stephen Caulker and Jake Livermore, although Hodgson will select an experienced starting XI for a match against an Italy side that reached the final of the European Championship before being outclassed against Spain.
England are 8/5 (Paddy Power free bets) to get their revenge against Cesare Prandelli’s team, with Wayne Rooney having been left out and that could mean that Daniel Sturridge makes a rare start with Theo Walcott also hoping to be given a more attacking role after being named among the strikers rather than midfielders.
The Arsenal winger / forward is 14/1 (bet365 bookmaker) to score the first goal and that could be a very attractive price if he’s playing just off the front man, whether Hodgson decides to go with Sturridge, Defoe or Carroll.
Carroll appears to be surplus to requirements at Liverpool, although he’s certainly not a player that the Italians will enjoy defending against and the tall forward is an 11/1 chance with BetVictor to break the deadlock in this game.
As for Italy, it’s a fairly experimental squad from Prandelli who will be looking to continue the good work after unexpectedly steering the Azzurri to within one game of becoming European champions. Some will like the odds of 7/4 (Stan James) about the visitors although it might be worth waiting to see what sort of line-up is picked.
Unfortunately, the Wembley crowd won’t be able to witness the immense Andrea Pirlo at first-hand, although Mario Balotelli scored some stunning goals in Poland and Ukraine, with the Manchester City forward a 6/1 chance to break the deadlock in this match.
This should also represent an opportunity for Mattia Destro to demonstrate his worth to the national side, with the Roma forward having scored five goals in fourteen appearances for the Italy Under-21 side as well as twelve goals for Siena last term.
With the new domestic season about to get under way in England and Italy, we might not expect a fast tempo to the match and a blaze of substitutions in the second half will clearly affect the balance of the match, so it could be worth backing something like the 1-1 correct score which will keep both camps happy ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.
England are 13/2 to sneak this match by a 1-0 scoreline and Hodgson will clearly be looking for two defensive midfielders to operate in front of the back four and continue to make the Three Lions tough to score against.