England and Turkey begin their final preparations for Euro 2016 when they meet at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with striker Harry Kane eager to find top form ahead of the tournament.
Roy Hodgson’s team won all 10 of their qualifiers for the event and are being touted as the country with the best chance of challenging the established main favourites – co-hosts France, world champions Germany and holders Spain.
Since the end of the campaign, England have had mixed fortunes, with impressive friendly wins over France and Germany coupled with defeats to Spain and a Netherlands team who failed to qualify.
Their latest international precedes next Friday’s match against Australia, after which Hodgson will have to cut down his selection of 26 players down to 23, with their last warm-up fixture against Portugal coming after the deadline to submit final squads.
England’s Manchester United players – Marcus Rashford, Wayne Rooney and Chris Smalling – will not be involved in the Turkey game due to the FA Cup final against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Liverpool’s contingent – Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Lallana, James Milner and Daniel Sturridge – are set to join the camp on Saturday, but will also not play after their involvement in the Europa League final.
The club’s captain Jordan Henderson is in contention having already joined the squad as he was only an unused substitute for the defeat to Sevilla.
Turkey, meanwhile, are without captain Arda Turan, Nuri Sahin and Burak Yilmaz due to their own club commitments with Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Beijing Guoan respectively.
“Any player wants to win major tournaments,” Kane – who is expected to start in attack alongside Jamie Vardy in the absence of Rashford, Rooney and Sturridge – told Sky Sports.
“We have got to have that in our minds and that has to be our goal. We know we are a great side, we have great players, great ability and we have just got to go out there and express that.
“We have just got to go out there and find that ability, try and find that form and get that consistency.
“To be part of it now is special. It is what I dreamed of, I worked very hard to do and now that I am here, I have got to work even harder to maintain it and that is what I am looking to do.”
— England (@England) May 20, 2016
Turkey were third at Euro 2008, but then failed to qualify for the following three major tournaments until their dramatic campaign this time around.
Fatih Terim’s men progressed in thrilling fashion, Selcuk Inan scoring with one minute remaining of their last qualifier against Iceland to ensure they reached France automatically as the best third-placed team.
Ranked three places below England in 13th, Turkey have named a 31-man provisional squad, which head coach Terim will have to trim significantly after this friendly and next week’s match with Montenegro in Antalya have been played.
In the absence of Turan, Sahin and Yilmaz, Bayer Leverkusen star Hakan Calhanoglu represents the main threat, while 18-year-old Nordsjaelland winger Emre Mor will hope to win a first cap.
The two nations have not faced each other since 2003, when England took four points from a possible six en route to qualifying for Euro 2004.
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