England vs Austria: It might pay to side with Bellingham as Southgate looks to experiment

Borussia Dortmund midfield should be given a chance to impress at the Riverside and could be a lively option for first goalscorer.

When: Wednesday, June 2, 20:00 GMT

How to watch: ITV

Best bets

England to win to nil at 11/8 (bet365)

Jude Bellingham to score first at 16/1 (William Hill)

England to win 1-0 at 11/2 (Unibet)

Looking ahead to Euro 2020

Wednesday's clash with Austria will be the fifth time the two sides have met. It is also the first of two friendlies that England have lined up ahead of Euro 2020. 

Austria are 23rd in the FIFA World Rankings and will no doubt provide a stern test for Gareth Southgate's Three Lions. That's despite falling to a disappointing 4-0 loss to Denmark in their last international outing.

Gareth Southgate with Trent Alexander Arnold
Gareth Southgate with Trent Alexander Arnold

Manager Franco Foda will be looking for a reaction as his Austria team have also qualified for this summer's Euros. They have been drawn in a group with North Macedonia, Netherlands and Ukraine and will be looking to make it past the group stage for the first time in their history.

Last three meetings

Austria 0-1 England (November 16, 2007)

These sides have only met three times since 1979. In the most recent meeting, England prevailed thanks to Peter Crouch.

England suffered an early setback when Michael Owen limped off after suffering a thigh strain in the friendly.

Nevertheless, Crouch got his goal just before half-time. The striker then missed another headed chance in the second half.

England 1-0 Austria (October 8, 2005)

Sixteen years ago these two faced off in a World Cup qualifier, with England winning 1-0. Victory secured qualification for Germany 2006.

David Beckham became the first player to get sent off for England twice after being shown two yellow cards for fouls in the space of two minutes.

Austria's Paul Scharner fouled Michael Owen inside the penalty area and the reliable Frank Lampard converted from the spot to put England on course for World Cup qualification.

Austria 2-2 England (September 4, 2004)

A drama-filled match took place in Austria in this World Cup qualifier. It was certainly a game to forget for the goalkeepers as they were both at fault for goals.

After 23 minutes, Alex Manninger picked up a back pass to gift England an indirect free-kick. David Beckham found Frank Lampard in space and the Chelsea midfielder scored from close range.

The goalkeeper was then lucky to stay on the pitch when he clearly handled outside the box to deny England a second goal. The officials were not up with play, however, and he escaped without censure.

In a strong first-half performance, England went 2-0 up through Steven Gerrard.

The Liverpool legend swept a magnificent shot into the top corner from 25 yards out, leaving Manninger helpless.

Austria substitute Kolmann scored a free-kick in the 70th minute to bring his team back into the contest. Two minutes later the comeback was complete after David James let Andreas Ivanschitz's shot past him to make it 2-2. 

Head-to-head in meetings since 1979

Played: 3

England wins: 2

Draws: 1

Austria wins: 0

England goals: 4

Austria goals: 2

Strongest team or experimental line-up?

Considering a sizeable chunk of the squad were involved in European finals last week, the most likely line-up will be an experimental one. 

Players who took part in matches over the last week will be allowed to join up late with the squad, potentially opening the path for those on the fringes.

Jordan Pickford to feature for England?
Jordan Pickford to feature for England?

Jordan Pickford is likely to start due to him missing all three of England's games in the last international break due to injury. Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson will be given some game time as he steps up his recovery from a long-term injury.

Scoreline prediction: England 1-0 Austria

England will be expecting a victory against Austria to kick-start their preparations but the manner of the performance will be of more concern to Southgate. The drumming in of tactics will be foremost on his mind as England work towards Croatia on June 13 and the free-flowing soccer may have to wait. One goal may be all we get.

Goalscorer bets

Seventeen-year-old Jude Bellingham has impressed since his England debut in November against the Republic of Ireland. The youngster may well get a chance to shine in these friendlies and the Borussia Dortmund central midfielder is a tempting price at 16/1 with William Hill to score first.

READ MORE: International soccer returns as Euro 2020 build-up continues