Sweden v England: Hodgson looking to the future

It has been a whirlwind week for Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha. At just 20 years of age, the youngster has received his first call-up to the senior England side, been approached by Didier Drogba to represent Ivory Coast, the country of his birth, and heard a rendition of his song sang by a news reporter on television.

Having impressed with some fine displays in the Championship with the Eagles, new boss Ian Holloway recently admitted he had not seen anyone like Zaha in his entire managerial career.

However, speculation continues to suggest the youngster has yet to confirm his allegiance, despite being widely tipped to make his bow in the international friendly against Sweden, as he must participate in a competitive match before being attached to the nation of his choice.

With both Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon withdrawing from the squad, Zaha is expected to have a chance to lay claim to the right wing position in Stockholm on Wednesday night.

While domestic action is put on hold for the mid-week international friendly, England boss Roy Hodgson has selected a strong squad but with several surprises as he looks to build for the future with an eye on the qualifiers for the World Cup.

Despite having only recently returned to full fitness after 17 months out with injury, Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere returns to the international fold, while the likes of Raheem Sterling, Steven Caulker and Jonjo Shelvey all join him.

At 31 years of age, Everton star Leon Osman will earn his first international cap after Hodgson announced his starting line-up, with Sterling and Caulker also set for their international debuts.

Meanwhile, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been given the green light to appear after struggling with a knee injury in the draw at Chelsea on Sunday, and will make his 100th appearance for the Three Lions.

England are at 2.75  to secure victory over Sweden, having already defeated them earlier this year at Euro 2012. Danny Welbeck scored a memorable goal in that 3-2 win, and the Manchester United striker has favourable odds at 8.00 to get the scoring off and running in Stockholm.

Click here for all the latest odds on the International Friendlies, check back on the blog to see all the latest betting predictions and tips, and you can follow us on Twitter @BetclicUK.

13/11/2012 - posted by
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