England v Montenegro – Wembley Stadium – UEFA European Championships 2020 Group A Qualifier – Thursday 8pm
England v Montenegro – Preview:
ENGLAND face Montenegro at Wembley Stadium in what is the Three Lions 1,000th senior men’s international fixture, in the knowledge that a single point will ensure their 2020 European Championship qualification.
Gareth Southgate’s men top Group A with five victories from their six matches to date. The only blot on their copybook a 2-1 defeat in the Czech Republic last month.
The build-up to this historic fixture has been far from smooth for the England boss. He will be without Manchester City frontman, Raheem Sterling, following a training ground altercation with Liverpool’s Joe Gomes as bad blood spilt over following last weekend’s Premier League clash between the pair.
“We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro on Thursday,” the England chief explained via www.thefa.com.
“One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we’ve been able to separate club rivalries from the national team. Unfortunately, the emotions of yesterday’s game were still raw.
“My feeling is that the right thing for the team is the action we have taken. Now that the decision has been made with the agreement of the entire squad, it’s important that we support the players and focus on Thursday night.”
Fabian Delph is also unavailable due to a hamstring injury which also saw him miss Everton’s victory at Southampton, while Jordan Henderson is serving a one-match ban.
Speaking about the historic fixture, Southgate added: ““It’s the 1000th England game, which is a momentous occasion for everybody – a very special event to be involved with.
“As a manager, you really get a feel of the history and the privilege of leading the team, when so few people have had the opportunity to do that.
“So, we’re very much looking forward to that.”
England v Montenegro – Head to head:
England won: 2
Montenegro won: 0
Last five meetings (all competitions):
October 12, 2010 – UEFA European Championship Qualifier
England 0-0 Montenegro
October 7, 2011 – UEFA European Championship Qualifier
Montenegro 2-2 England
March 26, 2013 – FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Montenegro 1-1 England
October 11, 2013 – FIFA World Cup Qualifier
England 4-1 Montenegro
March 25, 2019 – UEFA European Championship Qualifier
Montenegro 1-5 England
Jeevesie’s prediction: England 5-0 Montenegro