Hungary v England: Back three goals for the Three Lions

Paul Higham thinks England can kick-off their Nations League campaign with a few goals in Budapest against Hungary.

England embark on busy spell

Just when you're catching your breath from the end of the club season, it's back to full-on internationals again and four quick-fire games for England in the Nations League.

It's a double-whammy of course with the World Cup in Qatar in just a few months away, so Gareth Southgate has these four games to test out his squad in competitive action.

So it's a juggling act in terms of fitness, freshness after a long season and then also trying out permutations and partnerships. Jarrod Bowen and James Justin should see some action as should Fikoyo Tomori after winning Serie A with AC Milan.

The Three Lions haven't lost a game since the delayed Euro 2020 final at Wembley and haven't been beaten in 90 minutes for 22 games, and Southgate will want to keep that air of invincibility going while also easing his players into a tough spell.

Hungary hoping to be at home at the top level

Hungary are in the top group of the Nations League for the first time after successive promotions, and they showed at the Euros that they're a match for anyone on their day.

They drew in England back in October after a 4-0 reverse at home in a World Cup qualifier marred by more racist abuse by the home fans, which saw them given a spectator ban by Uefa.

This being Uefa though, it means that up to 30,000 will be present at the Puskas Arena with school children and their parents or guardians being allowed into the ground for this "behind closed doors" fixture.

On the pitch, Marco Rossi's side have lost just three of 12 in the Nations League with five of six wins coming without conceding, but that was at a lower level and England, Italy and Germany in this group we'll see if they can really mix it with the big boys.

England favourites even with changes

The two games with Hungary coming up look the more likely chances for Southgate to make changes, but even with some expected here if you look at the squad you can understand the 1.36 quoted on an England win in Budapest.

The 9.5 on a home win and in particular the 4.4 on the draw looks generous given Hungary held a full-strength England at Wembley just eight months ago.

England have so many attacking options though, and pleasingly for Southgate they're all mostly in decent form, with Bowen having starred for West Ham and Tammy Abraham winning the Europa Conference League with Roma there are goals everywhere.

Southgate's side have scored 35 goals in their last nine games, and at home Hungary have only stopped San Marino from scoring in their last seven.

With the changes you can see a few goals and while an England win to nil at 1.9 appeals, England to win and over 2.5 goals at 2.3 would get the nod just to cover a home goal.

Slightly better odds of 3.0 on England to score three goals or more are worth taking given the depth of talent Southgate has up front.

Who will Southgate start to score?

There's likely to be more bookings for Hungary than goals given how they play and how they'll likely be chasing the ball for parge parts.

As for who Southgate who start, that's a tricky one with Italy and Germany to come in quick succession, but Harry Kane will want to start this game and move a step closer to Wayne Rooney's England record of 53.

Currently on 49, Kane has 13 goals in his last 12 England games and although it's possible he sits this out, the skipper is more likely to start and at 2.1 anytime scorer is very backable.

Bowen could well get a start here he'd be a prime candidate in the score or assist market at 1.83 given his numbers for West Ham - with the same going for Arsenal's Bukayo Saka at 2.1.

Raheem Sterling could well sit this out and play against the big guns, but I expect Jude Bellingham to start and if he does he looks a nice price at 3.2 for a goal or assist as he'll provide that thrust from midfield.

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