In readiness for the next round of UEFA Nations League fixtures the home nations continue their preparations with international friendlies on Thursday, all with some added spice.
Wayne Rooney is set to bring the curtain down on his international career in England’s friendly with USA at Wembley, while there will be nothing friendly about Republic of Ireland hosting Northern Ireland.
Our football betting expert runs through the best bets ahead of both matches
England v USA
Thursday’s friendly with USA has already caused much debate around Rooney picking up his 120th international cap, and whether it is in the spirit of the game.
Irrespective of that, it gives Gareth Southgate another opportunity to look at some of the youngsters in the squad, while also hand the in-form Callum Wilson his debut.
Rooney will naturally be centre stage, and it looks likely that he will be coming off the bench late on in the game, and it would only be fitting for one of England’s greats to sign off in style with a goal – and the 7/2 odds on offer by Grosvenorsport.com is one worth going with.
In 2018, USA have lost to Brazil (2-0) and Colombia (4-2) who are both far superior sides, while they drew 1-1 with Peru last month.
England are ¼ to win the friendly and that represents very little value, but I feel they win this game comfortable and I will go with a 2-0 scoreline at 9/2.
Republic of Ireland v Northern Ireland
This ‘friendly’ is likely to be anything but friendly with a clash of the O’Neill’s in the dugout – Republic of Ireland’s Martin and Northern Ireland’s Michael.
The match will be their first meeting since 2011 with a Robbie Keane-inspired Republic side coming out 5-0 winners on the night.
Neither team come into the game with great form with Republic yet to pick up a win in their 2018 fixtures, while Michael O’Neill’s outfit have lost all three Nations League games so far and have only scored one goal in the process.
There will be plenty of heart and commitment in this game, but I can’t see this being a goalfest, so the 6/4 on offer for under 1.5 goals appeals to me the most.