England v Slovakia – June 20 2016, European Championships
On the only previous occasion England played in the Geoffrey-Guichard Stadium in St. Etienne a young 18-year-old striker scored one of the most memorable goals in World Cup history back in 1998, although it wasn’t quite enough to give 10-man England victory against Argentina as they lost on penalties following a controversial 2-2 draw.
That player was Michael Owen, and that goal made his career. Another 18-year-old, Marcus Rashford came off the bench against Wales to play an impressive part in the last minute comeback that saw England snatch it in extra time with Daniel Sturridge’s poked winner.
Rashford’s cameo may be enough for England manager Roy Hodgson to consider fielding the Manchester United starlet in a game which has lesser meaning than the first two, and can afford to rest some players. If he plays a role in the game against Slovakia, perhaps lighting could strike twice, Rashford certainly has the drive and potential.
Sturridge and Vardy, scoring the goals against Wales, could also make a very strong case for inclusion, especially at the expense of Harry Kane who looked a pale comparison of the player who was banging them in for fun for Spurs last season.
This is definitely an opportunity for England manager to rest players and give others a chance to shine all over the field. After Joe Hart’s weak attempt to save Gareth Bale’s free kick some are clamouring for him to be dropped.
Slovakia don’t need to try and win the game against England to secure qualification after comfortably beating Russia 2-1 in their last game. However, in attacking midfielder Marek Hamsik they have a player who can change games. The Napoli player scored a screamer from the receipt of a short corner and set up Vladimir Weiss for their first.
They have no injuries from that game so should it should be the same eleven for Ján Kozák’s men.