After being kept on ice throughout England’s Dublin snoozefest against Republic of Ireland last weekend, it stands to reason that Charlie Austin will be handed his Three Lions debut in Slovenia.
The soon-to-be-former QPR striker will complete his transcendence from non-league to the national team if handed cap number one in Ljubljana, with a price of 6/1 saying he scores the final goal of the contest.
There’s a reasonable 2/1 on offer for those to take the more conservative approach and back him to bag at any time, while an Austin goal in tandem with an England win is on offer at 7/2.
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Logic dictates it’s the safest way to wager here, though there’s enough appeal in punting on Austin to tread the same path as Tottenham striker Harry Kane and register the last of the match on his England debut to make it worthwhile chasing the bigger price.
Roy Hodgson gave Leicester forward Jamie Vardy his national bow in Dublin seven days back, opting to keep the 17-league goal striker in reserve.
As well as the Foxes frontman performed last time around, especially in his side’s dash to survival with seven wins in nine to conclude the campaign, no one would argue he is more deserving of international recognition than Austin.
So if the Croydon Commandant didn’t give him any game time in Ireland, he’s surely going to afford him some minutes on the pitch in Slovenia, or else why bother calling him up?
With regular Wayne Rooney partners Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck out of action, Hodgson opted to pick five midfielders at the Aviva to no attacking avail.
Unless Theo Walcott is handed a start up front, a similar modus operandi will likely be adopted against Slovenia owing to the inexperience of the alternatives.
This creates a high possibility one of two things will happen: a) England will need goals so will have to bring on Austin, or b) England will be winning comfortably so there’ll be nothing to lose by bringing on Austin.
If he does emerge from the bench, his strike rate from the previous campaign makes him a good bet to bag, which will see him elongate a strong recent record for debutants notching on their maiden Three Lions outings.
Kane did it against Lithuania in the last competitive fixture England contested, reciprocating a feat Spurs teammate Andros Townsend achieved against Montenegro in qualifying for the previous World Cup, which came after Rickie Lambert had done the same in a 3-2 friendly win over Scotland in 2013.
All games ended in wins for England, with only Townsend not scoring the last of the match.