ENGLAND take on Albania as they close in on a World Cup 2022 spot.
The Three Lions will be guaranteed of advancing to Qatar with four points in their next two games – although they can secure progression tonight with a win over the Albanians if Poland fail to beat Andorra.
And they will be boosted at Wembley by the likely debut of Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe, 21.
Smith Rowe has carried his fine form into this season, scoring five goals for the Gunners.
The playmaker revealed how he reacted to the call from Gareth Southgate telling him the news of his call up.
Smith Rowe said: “It was a great moment for me and my family – I ran downstairs straight away and told my mum.
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“It was very emotional. They were so proud of me.”
Smith Rowe admitted he was ‘really nervous’ ahead of his first Three Lions training session and the experience is ‘yet to sink in’.
He added: “Obviously I play against these guys every week but for England it’s always different.
“Wearing the same training kit and passing the ball to each other – it’s crazy to be alongside these great players.
“Harry Kane, captain of England, what he’s done – it’s crazy to be training with him.
“[Raheem] Sterling as well. I always knew training would be difficult. It still hasn’t sunk in I’m actually here yet.”
What time does England vs Albania kick off?
- England vs Albania takes place on Friday, November 12.
- The match kicks off at 7.45pm.
- Wembley Stadium in London plays host.
What TV channel and live stream is England vs Albania on?
England vs Albania will be broadcast live on ITV 1 and the ITV Hub.
ITV begin their coverage at 7pm.
Mark Pougatch presents live coverage with Ian Wright, Roy Keane and Jermain Defoe providing the analysis. Sam Matterface and Lee Dixon are on commentary.
How can I watch England vs Albania for FREE?
ITV is free-to-air for those in the UK with a valid TV licence.
What is the team news?
What are the odds?
England to win: 1/10
Albania to win: 30/1
I IN FOCUS
Unbeaten England lead Poland by three points into tonight’s penultimate set of fixtures. Gareth Southgate’s squad need four points to be certain of top spot, the only place that guarantees a spot at next year’s finals. The side second finishing second will enter a play-off round at the semi-final stage.
- Andorra v Poland
- England v Albania
- Hungary v San Marino
1 Berisha, 12 Selmani, 2 Hoxhallari, 3 Lenjani, 6 Dermaku, Cekici, 13 Mihaj, 14 Laci, 17 Ramadani, 19 Balaj, 21 Roshi, 22 Doka
Edoardo Reja makes four changes following Albania’s 1-0 home defeat to Poland last month, the most surprising of which comes in goal where Thomas Strakosha is favoured over usual captain Etrit Berisha. Elsewhere, Klaus Gjasula, Nedim Bejrami and Sokol Cikalleshi are in as Yiber Ramadani, Odise Roshi and Rey Manaj miss out. The Eagles will line up in a 3-5-2 formation and are tonight led by Lazio’s Elseid Hysaj.
23 Strakosha; 18 Ismajli, 15 Kumbulla, 5 Veseli; 4 Hysaj, 7 Bare, 8 Gjasula, 10 Bajrami, 20 Trashi; 16 Cikalleshi, 11 Uzuni
13 Johnstone, 22 Ramsdale, 12 Alexander-Arnold, 14 Grealish, 15 Mings, 16 Coady, 17 Abraham, 18 Bellingham, 19 Smith Rowe, 20 Saka
It’s five changes for Gareth Southgate and a switch in formation following the draw at home to Hungary last month. The England head coach opts for a back three and brings in Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire to join John Stones in central defence. There are also new wing-backs on show with Chelsea pair Reece James and Ben Chilwell named in the side, while Jordan Henderson is recalled to the midfield in the absence of Declan Rice. Luke Shaw and Mason Mount are also no part of this squad as Jack Grealish and Tyrone Mings drop to the bench. It’s a 3-4-3 tonight for the Three Lions with captain Harry Kane leading the line.
1 Pickford; 2 Walker, 6 Maguire, 5 Stones; 4 James, 8 Henderson, 7 Phillips, 3 Chilwell; 11 Foden, 9 Kane, 10 Sterling
The Three Lions are odds-on to take the three points that will put them on the brink of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. Would you back against them?
- England win 2/13
- Draw 7/1
- Albania win 20/1
Odds from Betfair correct at the time of publication.
LIONS LIE IN WAIT
Good evening and welcome to Wembley for our live coverage of the World Cup Qualifier between England and Albania.
Gareth Southgate’s men require just four points from their remaining two games to confirm their place at Qatar 2022, but could seal the deal as early as this evening if Poland slip up in Andorra.
The signs are certainly good for the Three Lions: not only are San Marino the opposition for their final game in Group I, but they come into tonight’s contest on an unbeaten run of 18 matches in all competitions.
However, Southgate and his side will be eager to turn on the style in front of a sold-out national stadium, especially after the disappointing draw at home to Hungary last time out.
Emile Smith Rowe is a new addition to the ranks, and the in-form Arsenal man may well be handed his first senior international cap with Mason Mount a doubt.
Jack Grealish has been given the green light after his recent illness, but Jack Grealish, James Ward-Prowse and Declan Rice have all withdrawn from the squad.
Albania still harbour outside hopes of landing a place in the play-offs, but were dealt a mighty blow when narrowly defeated by Poland in Tirana last month.
Yet Edoardo Reja’s side are evolving on the international stage and do carry a threat; prior to the Poland game, the Eagles had won three in a row without conceding.
Kick-off at Wembley is set for 7.45pm, and we will shortly have confirmation of tonight’s teams as part of our pre-match build-up.