Roy Hodgson is set to name a strong starting XI to face Portugal on Thursday night, with Wayne Rooney captaining the side, as England prepare for their final pre-EURO 2016 warm-up game at Wembley Stadium.
However the Three Lions boss refused to confirm that tonight’s starters will be the set-up he wishes to play against Russia in next Saturday’s Group B opener over in France.
Having already won two international friendlies 2-1 against Turkey and Australia respectively last month, England’s final pre-tournament encounter with Portugal is set to give Hodgson more decisions to mull over as the team travel to their EURO 2016 base in Chantilly come Monday.
However the Three Lions have won just one of their last 11 matches against Portugal, drawing eight times, despite winning eight of their first 11 clashes against them.
Although tonight’s tie cannot end in similar circumstances; England’s last two meetings with Portugal have ended in penalty shoot-out defeats – 3-1 in the 2006 FIFA World Cup and 6-5 in Euro 2004.
And despite the Three Lions’ disappointing past with Thursday’s opponents, Portugal’s record doesn’t bode too much better either, with the visitors winless in their last nine friendlies against England, drawing five.
Hodgson’s side will be buoyed by the fact that England have won 11 of their last 12 games on home soil; only losing to the Netherlands (1-2) back in March, with the ex-Fulham and Liverpool boss losing just three of his 21 games at the national stadium as manager, winning 16.
On the other hand, Portugal arrive at Wembley in outstanding form having prevailed victorious in seven of their last eight internationals away from home.
Portugal start their EURO 2016 campaign against Iceland on June 14.
Left-back Ryan Bertrand is the only England player certain not to feature tonight, so Tottenham’s Danny Rose is expected to deputise.
Fellow defender Gary Cahill and forward Daniel Sturridge are both available having missed the Australia match through injury.
Midfielders Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere, who have endured fitness concerns, both trained on Wednesday.
Portugal duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe have been given the week off following Real Madrid’s Champions League final triumph and will not feature.
National team coach Fernando Santos will also be unable to call upon defender Bruno Alves and winger Nani, who both represented Fenerbahce in the Turkish Cup final.
FIFA World Ranking: England – 11th; Portugal 8th
Previous Meeting: England 0-0 Portugal (July 1, 2006 – World Cup)
Form: England – LWWLWW; Portugal – WLWLWW
Key Men: England – Marcus Rashford ; Portugal – Mile Jedinak
Shoot Says: England 2-1 Portugal