Off the back of a maligned draw in Kiev last month, Roy Hodgson needs to ensure England bounce back in a positive fashion against a sturdy Montenegrin side. With the top four in Group H separated by only three points, England have the opportunity to secure qualification for next summer’s World Cup finals with two home fixtures.
Statistically, the Three Lions have been the most impressive side, not only scoring the most goals in the group but also having the stingiest defence. Despite this, Hodgson has yet to obtain full public support with many thinking he favours dependability and worth ethic over entertainment and the ability to monopolise possession under pressure.
There are an abundance of choices to lead the front-line, with Wayne Rooney back to full-fitness and demonstrating impressive form as well as his Manchester United team-mate Danny Welbeck, who is back following suspension. Daniel Sturridge, who has eight in nine games for Liverpool, has put himself into consideration for only his second International start.
Joe Hart will be looking for a more commanding performance after his recent publicised errors have put into question his status as number one for club and country. He won’t be helped by the absence of Ashley Cole, who has a rib injury, but Leighton Baines should get a rare chance to show that he can be more than a deputy.
KICK-OFF: Friday, 8.00pm
Montenegro 1 (Damjanovic) England 1 (Rooney), World Cup qualifying phase, 26 March 2013
Montenegro 2 (Zverotic, Delibasic) England 2 (Young, Bent), European Championship qualifying phase, 7 October 2011
England 0 Montenegro 0, European Championship qualifying phase, 12 October 2010
Three draws in three games between the two countries. Montenegro are the only side England have played more than twice and never beaten.
None of the players in the Montenegro squad play their club football in their home country.
There have been 16 different goal scorers in Roy Hodgson’s 20 games as England manager.
Montenegro have conceded just once away from home in the current qualifying campaign
5 years 11 months - since England last lost at Wembley in a competitive fixture
England to win: 1.3
Montenegro to win: 10.0
TV: Live on ITV 1 at 8.00pm, highlights on ITV1 at 10.45pm