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England injuries open up first-scorer market for Chile clash

| 14.11.2013

Injuries to three of England’s striking contingent ahead of the Wembley friendly against Chile will have left first-goalscorer backers facing something of a quandary.

Wayne Rooney is still favourite to break the deadlock against the South Americans at 9/2, but the Manchester United striker would have expected play behind a centre-forward in the number 10 role if either Daniel Sturridge or Rickie Lambert were available.

As it is, they have been ruled out and Rooney will probably be asked to lead the line alongside Jermain Defoe  – who is 6/1 to grab the opener – with Southampton wing-forward Jay Rodriguez in with a great chance of making his Three Lions debut on the left flank.

The 24-year-old has scored three times in his last five Premier League games for the Saints and is 7/4 to get off the mark for his country here, with first-scorer punters invited to get on Rodriguez at 6/1 to strike earliest of all.

His club teammate Adam Lallana also looks likely to make the starting line-up for the match against Jorge Sampaoli’s charges.

England captain Steven Gerrard may be fit for the game against Germany, but he is definitely out of the Chile clash and fellow midfielder Michael Carrick may not play again in 2013.

That may give attacking-midfielder Lallana an opportunity to stake his claim for a regular spot in the Three Lions setup.

A goal from the 25-year-old wouldn’t hurt his chances and Lallana can be backed at a tasty 11/4 to follow up the strike he grabbed last time out for the Saints against Hull with a debut goal for his country.

However, England’s opponents aren’t just in north-west London to make up the numbers and first-choice dangerman Eduardo Vargas is 9/1 to shock the Wembley faithful with the opening goal.

Barcelona winger Alexis Sanchez – who has been particularly chirpy about England’s 2014 World Cup prospects ahead of the match – has scored seven La Liga goals in 2013/14 and looks wildly overpriced at 7/2 to notch against Roy Hodgson’s boys.