Football

England v Spain: Key battles

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Torres is likely to start for Spain. (©GettyImages)
Torres is likely to start for Spain. (©GettyImages).

England will face the sternest of examinations on Saturday evening as World Cup winners and European champions Spain travel to Wembley Stadium.

Fabio Capello has confirmed Phil Jones will start in midfield, while Frank Lampard captains England, with John Terry missing out on this occasion.

England are also without Wayne Rooney as Capello prepares for life without the Manchester United striker, while Spain bring, as ever, a squad oozing with class.

GMF takes a look at some of the key battles that will be contested in north west London...

Phil Jagielka v Fernando Torres

Despite intial concerns over a broken toe, Phil Jagielka is expected to start in defence alongside former teammate Joleon Lescott.

The Everton centre-back is seemingly set to pitted up against Fernando Torres, although the Chelsea striker is no longer guaranteed a starting place for Spain.

On his day, however, Torres is one of the finest forwards on the planet, but Jagielka knows all about the 27-year-old, having faced him numerous times in the Barclays Premier League.

Darren Bent v Gerard Pique

Darren Bent is likely to lead the England line in the absence of Wayne Rooney but will face the difficult proposition of facing Gerard Pique.

The former Manchester United defender has established himself as one of the finest centre-backs in the world since leaving Old Trafford for the Nou Camp, and Bent will have his work cut out.

Bent, however, will be brimming with confidence after a brace for Aston Villa last weekend. The former Tottenham striker must also try to stop Pique feeding the ball to the Spain midfield, with the Barcelona star often the starting point for attacks.

Frank Lampard v Xavi

Frank Lampard says it will be his proudest moment as an England player when he leads his country out against the World Cup winners at Wembley.

He will, however, have to be at the top of his game to ensure the evening ends in positive fashion.

The Chelsea midfielder will have to accept there will be long periods without the ball but, when England do win it back, Lampard must be the fulcrum of attacks.

Xavi, meanwhile, will pull the strings for Spain in a midfield littered with incomparable talent.

Phil Jones v Andres Iniesta

Having played in central midfield for Manchester United against Liverpool last month, Phil Jones will be required to do the same for England.

The 19-year-old is expected to hover in front of the back four; the area in which Andres Iniesta is at his most dangerous.

The Barcelona midfielder likes to get between the lines and often finds the killer pass. He will be a supreme test for young Jones.

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