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England vs. Scotland: Predicting Starting Lineups for Wembley Friendly

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England vs. Scotland: Predicting Starting Lineups for Wembley Friendly
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Wednesday sees England host old rivals Scotland in a friendly at Wembley, with managers Roy Hodgson and Gordon Strachan expected to experiment ahead of more World Cup qualifying matches in early September.

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While the Scots are unable to make it to Brazil 2014, England will be hoping their opponents can provide a worthwhile test ahead of a must-win game against Moldova next month.

Both squads are missing players through injury but look likely to field their strongest possible starting lineups, for the first half of the game at least.

With the new Premier League season beginning on Saturday, Hodgson is under pressure from top-flight managers to restrict the playing time of their star players.

The former Liverpool and Fulham boss has already had to justify the selection of Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, who is continuing his recovery from knee and ankle problems.

Speaking about Wilshere to Sky Sports, Hodgson said:

I'm happy that he's fit and with us.

We know he's not going to play for 90 minutes. Arsene (Wenger) knows we're as anxious to protect the health and fitness of the player as he is.

I don't want to damage players and there are quite a few of them who haven't really played a lot football in the pre-season or are maybe coming back from injury.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

So, with Wenger, David Moyes, Jose Mourinho and co to keep happy, how can we expect England to lineup on Wednesday evening?

Joe Hart looks certain to start in goal, although one of the backup keepers, Ben Foster or John Ruddy, could be given some minutes in the second half.

Liverpool's Glen Johnson would appear to be Hodgson's preferred option at right-back, although Tottenham's Kyle Walker can expect to see at least 30 minutes of action.

The manager is yet to decide on his favoured central defensive partnership but the more experienced duo of Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill look to have the edge over Manchester United duo Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.

At left-back, Ashley Cole should play the first 45 minutes before being replaced by Everton's Leighton Baines at half-time.

Hodgson likes to play a 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation with Michael Carrick, Jack Wilshere, Steven Gerrard, Theo Walcott and James Milner the most likely starters.

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Expect plenty of changes in this area though, with Frank Lampard, Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all pushing to come off the bench.

Wayne Rooney will start up front if he has sufficiently recovered from his recent shoulder injury. If not then Jermain Defoe should get the nod, with Rickie Lambert getting his first cap as a substitute.

Scotland boss Strachan looks likely to employ a more defensive 4-5-1 formation at Wembley on Wednesday, designed to stop England playing and cause problems on the counter-attack.

Recent Hull City signing Allan McGregor should start in goal, in front of a back four made up of Alan Hutton, Charlie Mulgrew, Grant Hanley and Steven Whittaker.

The former Southampton boss is under less pressure to rest key players and should start with a five-man midfield containing Norwich City's Robert Snodgrass, James Morrison of West Brom, Celtic's Scott Brown, Stoke City's Charlie Adam and Everton's Steven Naismith.

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Wigan duo Shaun Maloney and James McArthur will have to make do with a place on the bench after starting their side's 2-0 Community Shield defeat to Manchester United on Sunday.

Blackburn Rovers striker Jordan Rhodes looks likely to start up front on his own, with veteran Kenny Miller and Leigh Griffiths both coming on in the second half to support the Scottish attack.

 

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