England will continue their preparations for the 2022 Fifa World Cup when Ivory Coast visits Wembley Stadium for an international friendly on Tuesday evening.
The Three Lions are currently on an eight-game unbeaten run since their last defeat to Italy when they suffered a 3-2 loss on penalties in the final of the Euro 2020 final.
England will come into this fixture off the back of a 2-1 victory over Switzerland at Wembley Stadium on Saturday after Luke Shaw and Harry Kane cancelled out Breel Embolo’s 22nd-minute opener.
Ivory Coast will be hoping to bounce back and return to winning ways after they fell to a 2-1 defeat to world champions France at the Stade Velodrome through goals from Olivier Giroud and Aurelien Tchouameni as Nicolas Pepe’s opener proved to be a consolation.
“We’ll make changes [against Ivory Coast], we think that is the right thing to do, we want to keep all of the squad involved, that has been a strength for us, playing coming in, performing at a level, and the team marching on,” said Gareth Soutgate.
“They need to feel we have the confidence to go into any game, and we’re also at a stage of the season where their load is heavy, and we’ve got to try and manage that in the best way possible.”
Ivory Coast head coach Patrice Beaumelle wants his side to attack. He says: “If we want to win, we have to go looking for it. We should be inspired by this.
“We showed we have a great team who are capable of competing with the best and even to play attractive football. On a daily basis, I’m still working on the details. Definitely in the long term. While I’m at the head of this team, I won’t let go. This team has a soul, we saw it tonight. I hope we’ll be rewarded in the future.”
The friendly will be the first meeting between the two nations when England welcomes Ivory Coast to Wembley Stadium for their final international fixture.
Southgate could have defender John Stones back in contention after missing their last game due to muscular tightness, while Emile Smith Row could also feature after being lined in the previous match.
Patrice Beaumelle will have all his players fit with a clean bill of health after the likes of Wilfried Singo, Hamed Traore and Christian Kouame all withdrew before the loss to Les Bleus.
After scoring the winning goal in England’s last game and netting eight goals in his last three appearances, Harry Kane is now within five goals of breaking Wayne Rooney’s record to become the Three Lions all-time leading scorer.
Despite his inconsistencies, Nicolas Pepe’s ability has never been in doubt after he scored a wonderful goal during Friday night’s clash against France in Marseille and Beaumelle will look to him to produce the goods again when they take on Southgate’s men.