England vs Nigeria: Talking points, key battle and possible lineups

Super Eagles

The Super Eagles and the Three Lions will battle for bragging rights at the Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

It will be the Eagles’ penultimate friendly match before heading to Russia for the World Cup.

The Nigerian team was average against DR Congo on Monday; a match where Gernot Rohr paired Joel Obi and Oghenekaro Etebo in central midfield and utilised Tyrone Ebuehi in the right back position.

He also switched to a formation that enabled Simy Nwankwo to feature as a lone striker which gave the Eagles control over possession.

Rohr will make sweeping changes to the team that played DRC, with John Mikel Obi, Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo, Wilfred Ndidi and Brian Idowu expected to start against England.

Despite enjoying the majority of possession against DRC, Nigeria may sit deeper against England.

England coach Gareth Southgate will be without Phil Jones, who has taken permission to attend to domestic matters.

The former England central defender may most likely field a strong squad to stifle the Super Eagles’ attacking play.

England’s potential XI: Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, John Stones, Gary Cahill, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Jesse Lingard.

Nigeria potential XI: Francis Uzoho, Shehu Abdullahi, Brian Idowu, Leon Balogun, William Troost Ekong, John Mikel Obi, Wilfred Ndidi, Ogenyi Onazi, Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi.

KEY FACTS

Both countries have previously clashed only twice at senior level: one competitive match and one friendly. The friendly was on November 16, 1994, when the Three Lions pipped the Eagles 1-0 at the old Wembley Stadium thanks to a first half header from David Platt.

The second time was a group phase tie at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan. The game ended 0-0 at the Nagai Stadium in Osaka.

KEY BATTLE

Kane vs Ekong

The most important battle in the match will be between central defender Troost-Ekong and his former Tottenham teammate Harry Kane.

The Nigerian will be given the responsibility of keeping goal poacher quiet throughout the game.

One of the best strikers in the world, the Spurs man is a tough customer when he is in his element. His intelligent movement and knack for scoring important goals are qualities the Eagles defense will have to contend with.

Troost-Ekong is a strong, athletic defender who excels in one-on-one tussles and is also adept at reading play and stepping forward to intercept. He is also strong in the air which would help in addressing the aerial threat of Kane. Hopefully.  (The Cable )

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