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Nic Ladds 2nd Mar 2010 - 16:19

Capello feeling mellow over his team selection

While all eyes seem to be on off the field matters these days, Fabio Capello will want his squad fully focused on their preparations for this year's World Cup as they take on Egypt in this international friendly.

Everyone will be looking at England's (4/11) team selection, hoping it will give some indication for the way they will set up in South Africa. There are a lot of positions up for grabs and Capello has a big task on trying to get the balance of the team right as they face tough opposition in Egypt (7/1) who have won three consecutive Africa Cup of Nations titles in a row.

All we do know about England is that Steven Gerrard will replace disgraced John Terry as captain. In goal, there are three major choices, David James, Rob Green or my personal choice Joe Hart who has been in scintillating form since joining Birmingham on loan.

The expected back-line is Wes Brown at right-back, John Terry and Matthew Upson at centre-back but it is the left back position that is the cause of much debate. With Ashley Cole injured and Wayne Bridge making himself unavailable for selection, Capello must choose between Stephen Warnock or Leighton Baines to slot in.

He could even call on Joleon Lescott or James Milner to play there, whoever plays - you can be sure they will want to stake their claim on the place for the World Cup.

All eyes will also be on in-form striker Wayne Rooney. After he scored the winner in Sunday's Carling Cup final, fans will hope to see him bring his unstoppable club form in to the national team. He is of course the favourite to get the first goal (11/4), in this form he could easily bag two or more (9/2).

Jermain Defoe was a doubt but has trained well with the squad and should partner Rooney; he is 3/1 to score first. Newly appointed captain Steven Gerrard returned to scoring form for Liverpool at the weekend and looks good at 6/1 to score first or 7/4 at any time.

England's opponents are certainly no pushovers though and the Egyptians will hope to capitalise on wandering minds. Egypt have had a fantastic 2010 since missing out on the WC, not only winning a record breaking third consecutive ACN title, they set a new record for being undefeated in 19 matches and also moved a record tenth place in the FIFA world rankings.

They haven't managed to qualify for this year's World Cup and their record is not the best against non-African opposition. They only just missed out on a place after losing out in a play-off against Algeria after they were so close in the group-stage.

They have some decent players in the squad; ex-Wigan and current Hull striker Amr Zaki should lead the front line and is 8/1 to get the first goal. The man to watch out for is Mohamed Zidan, the Borussia Dortmund forward is a real quality player and I'm surprised he hasn't been snapped up by an English club yet, despite many links over the years.

My money will be going on him to score at any time at 7/2, or you can get 10/1 on him to score first.

Although I fully expect Capello's men to be too strong for the Egyptians, I can't really see them routing their opposition. I would lean towards the 2-0 (9/2) or 3-1 (10/1) scorelines.

If you are taking part in our fantastic Free Bets For Everyone promotion in this match (stake £20 on the double result, get a free £10 In-Play bet) then I would have a go on the Draw/England (16/5) to get a little bit more value than the 21/20 on England/England.



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