Venue – Stadion Stozice
Kick off – 7:45pm GMT Tuesday 11th October
Last time – Slovenia 2-3 England. 14th June 2015, Euro Championship Qualifier.
Although it was uninspiring, England recorded a comfortable win on Saturday. They beat Malta 2-0 at Wembley to give interim manager Gareth Southgate a winning start. Tonight, the Three Lions must improve, as a tougher opponent in Slovenia awaits. England currently sit atop Group F with two wins from two in this 2018 World Cup qualifing campaign; however, Slovenia are also unbeaten.
Slovenia vs England: 2018 World Cup Qualifier Preview
England Team news – Wayne Rooney dropped
The big news here is that Wayne Rooney will be dropped to the bench. Tottenham’s Eric Dier is set to replace him in midfield. Manager Southgate has confirmed that the change is for tactical reasons and many England fans will be pleased by the decision.
Rooney was subjected to booing from a section of Three Lions fans on Saturday evening and this decision will make Gareth Southgate a bit more popular amongst some. Can Rooney force his way back into the England starting eleven? Yes, but improved performances for his club must come first. If selected of course.
Jordan Henderson named captain
In Rooney’s absence, Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson will take over the captaincy. He was one of the few to make a difference against Malta and this will be a big test for him.
Henderson has the opportunity not only to make one of the midfield spots his own but also to stake a claim to be made England’s full time captain.
Sunderland’s current first choice keeper Jordan Pickford has been called up to the senior squad for the first time. He replaces the injured Tom Heaton. Pickford was due to be involved with the England U-21 side ahead of their clash with Bosnia and Herzegovina in a Euro Qualifier until the senior side came calling.
Although Sunderland have struggled this season, Pickford has been in excellent form. It is highly unlikely that the Sunderland youngster will feature but this will give him good experience, confidence and wet his appetite for more to come.
Slovenia team news
It will come to no surprise if Slovenia stick with the same side that defeated Slovakia at the weekend. Although Rok Kronaveter came off the bench to net the winner, he is expected to remain a substitute. Fiorentina’s Josip Llicic is expected to play and star for his side. The forward with a licence to roam has the ability to keep England’s defenders busy.
Valter Birsa is another dangerman. He has an eye for the throughball and is also a threat on set pieces. At the other end of the pitch, expect Atlético Madrid’s keeper Jan Oblak to prove difficult to get past.
Both teams come into this fixture on the back of unbeaten starts to the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign. England have won twice, beating Slovakia 1-0 and Malta 2-0. Slovenia are also unbeaten, drawing 2-2 with Lithuania and beating Slovakia 1-0.
The Last Word
Although this will be a tough test for Southgate’s men, this is also a winnable game. England must up their game from the weekend and, if they do, then they should take three points home with them. Slovenia will want to keep their own unbeaten run going also. They will not be afraid of this England side and could cause plenty of problems in the final third.
A win here for Southgate with a starting eleven missing the dropped Wayne Rooney will edge the interim boss one step closer to the permanent manager’s role.