A NEW qualifying system for the 2020 Euros, the UEFA Nations League, adds yet another headache for league football managers throughout Europe who are already trying to juggle various domestic considerations as well as the Europa and Champions League.
In theory it should mean some of the usual dreary midweek fare is put on hold while we watch yet more exciting international footie in the wake of an entertaining World Cup. It also throws up several decent betting opportunities.
There are two markets up across the whole competition that offer some value – top scorer and outright winner. I may be accused of being unpatriotic but I can't back an England side that has Raheem Sterling and Luke Shaw in it despite England flattering to device at the World Cup. We must remember who they actually played against and the amount of open goals Sterling failed to put the ball into.
I think there are a few years yet before they are a decent betting medium and show consistency. The blueprint is there however and I think Southgate is a man with a plan.
Despite this one constant you can set your watch by with regards to the national team is Mr H Kane. For as long as England survive he will be after goals .Kane at 16/1 in the top-scorer market, that's a good eachway bet to 3 places. Lets face it any goals England do manage to score will most likely involve him at the end of them.
Leroy Sane is 50/1 in the same market and is another I'm backing each way. I have no idea what the poor lad's done but Guardiola and Low clearly have had their doubts and he hasn't seen as much international or domestic action as he would like. This is a chance for him to silence his critics and have a crack at European stardom.
As for an outright winner Germany will be keen to re assert themselves a European force after a disastrous World Cup. Sane is back in the squad and they have an exciting prospect in Werner. One of the standouts in the World Cup for me was young Julian Brandt, he was superb every time he came on.
He is one of the most German looking Germans I have ever seen with incredible pace. His crossing and attempts at goal are also worth going back and re-watching. The Deutschlanders are a wee bit skinnier than I would like at 11/2 but it's a confident each-way bet to nothing at worst.
Italy at 12/1 are next on my list of antepost outright wagers. They didn't get chance to shine in on the global stage this time around but the quality is there and they are another team who will be keen to show Europe they are a world-class side. Defensively they are one of the tightest squads on the circuit and if they stick with playing three up front, have several solid strikers to choose from. Pietro Pellegri is another future star in the making and the youngster will be itching to shine for Azzurri.