A new era for England begins with Sam Allardyce's first match against Slovakia.
Slovakia v England - Sunday 17:00, ITV1
Sam Allardyce opens his England tenure against a Slovakia side that frustrated the Three Lions in their thoroughly depressing Euro 2016 campaign. The new man in charge has often been sought by teams in dire straits and will seek to employ his famed use of psychology to coax the best out of the likes of Raheem Stirling, who has enjoyed a fantastic start to the season with his brace at the weekend and a crucial role in Man City's 5-0 Champions League play-off win over Steaua and should start.
Many have questioned whether Rooney should continue to be a key player in the England set-up, yet Big Sam has concluded that the 30 year old deserves to retain the captain’s armband. Given Allardyce's comments about playing him where Jose Mourinho does, presumably this means Dele Alli will drop to the bench, with many surprised by the ommision of Ross Barkley from his squad.
Rooney has scored 12 goals in his last 18 appearances for England and with a record of 7/7 at penalities is likely to retain spot-kick duties. With an excellent record at scoring in qualifiers, at 3.4 to score anytime, Rooney represents decent value.
Despite the goalless draw in their Euro 2016 match, there have been plenty of goals in Slovakia's recent games and Jan Kozak's squad lacks the same experience, missing the combined 223 caps of the departed quartet of Jan Mucha, Vladimir Weiss, Miroslav Stoch and Stanislav Sestak. Whichever striker plays ahead of Rooney will also fancy their chances of getting on the scoresheet, and we’re backing England to score two or more goals at 2.4.