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England dropouts gives Spurs star chance of Italy start

| 29.03.2015

After the important business of Lithuania was taking care of during this international break, a return to the normal routine of squad dropouts has returned to the England set up now friendlies are on the agenda.

Raheem Sterling was already going to be rested for the trip to Italy, due to a toe injury, but Roy Hodgson has since revealed that Leighton Baines, Danny Welbeck and James Milner will all join the Liverpool flyer in his unavailability.

The added absence of Welbeck and Milner to Sterling means Hodgson now only has Theo Walcott and Andros Townsend to pick from on the wings.

Considering the former Fulham boss has employed a 4-3-3 system of late, the shortage of touchline huggers could see England either ditch that tactic in favour of their previously tested 4-4-2 diamond, or at least switch to it at some point in Turin.

The diamond formation should allow Ryan Mason to make his international bow. Especially as only he and Ross Barkley can fit into that system of the players yet to be used extensively during the international break.

Barkley could play at the tip behind Wayne Rooney and sure-to-start new hero Harry Kane, while Mason can easily replace the energetic game that Jordan Henderson and Fabian Delph provide.

It could be that all of Spurs’ remaining squad members – Danny Rose dropped out through injury – start against Italy, with Kyle Walker likely to deputise for Nathaniel Clyne at right back after the Southampton man started at Wembley.

England head to face the Azzurri as 12/5 shots to win the game, with Antonio Conte’s hosts priced up as 6/5 favourites and the draw available at 11/5 odds.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.