England v Caltex Socceroos: the key battles

​It’s always a special occasion when England takes on Australia in sport and it will be no different at the Stadium of Light on Saturday (AEST) when Ange Postecoglou’s Caltex Socceroos looks to topple the old enemy.

There’s going to be some epic match-ups all over the park and we take a look at four possible battles set to decide this blockbuster friendly international.

Preview: England v Caltex Socceroos

England skipper Wayne Rooney v Socceroos defender Bailey Wright

Having missed the friendly with Turkey due to helping Manchester United lifting the FA Cup last weekend, the England skipper should come back into the XI. 

Rooney is the only member of the current England squad that was there when these two nations met 13 years ago – it was his debut - and will be eyeing a bit of revenge. 

If Rooney plays up top with Kane or as on his own, Wright is likely to be the man to get the job on Rooney, given he’s coming off an excellent season with Preston North End and is battle-hardened. 

The 23-year-old Wright’s big challenge will be sticking tight and not allowing Rooney time to turn and look up, especially when he drops deeper and in between the lines to receive the ball. 

Centre back: Bailey Wright (Preston North End)

That's where he'll need to communicate with Mile Jedinak, who'll have his hands full too...

England young gun Dele Alli v Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak

The Tottenham youngster has been one of the breakout stars of the EPL in 2015/16, making a name for himself as one of the best box-to-box midfielders. 

Can he produce against the inspirational Socceroos captain? The fresh-faced England star is excellent at keeping possession and bringing other team-mates into action, while also making clever late runs into the box to get on the end of crosses from his wingers. 

Alli also got the better of Jedinak during the EPL season, scoring one of the goals of the campaign when he flicked the ball of the Crystal Palace midfielder's head before volleying a shot into the bottom corner. 

Mile Jedinak is in doubt for Tuesday's clash with Jordan.

Jedinak won’t have forgotten that and you can be sure will seek some sort of redemption at the Stadium of Light. Whichever of these two has the better night might just see their side dominate the crucial midfield battle.

England flyer Andros Townsend v Socceroos defender Brad Smith

One of the fringe players still on the cusp of making England’s final 23 for the Euros, Townsend needs a big performance against the Socceroos to book his ticket to France. 

The Newcastle United winger performed brilliantly when called upon in qualifying and has a great ability to cut in from the right flank and shoot with his powerful left foot. 

He’s flexible enough to play on either wing, has great dribbling skills and is excellent with both feet, making him a nightmare to defend against. 

What a huge challenge for young Smith. If things had worked out differently the Liverpool fullback could have been turning out for the Three Lions in this clash, having represented England at youth level. 

But Penrith-born Smith chose the Green and Gold and has emerged as Postecoglou’s first-choice at left-back, playing both of the last two World Cup qualifiers in March. 

Harry Redknapp has tipped Brad Smith for a big future at Liverpool.

While Smith will be challenged defensively, he’ll also ask Townsend plenty of questions going the other way as well.

England defender Ryan Bertrand v Socceroos winger Robbie Kruse

With Mathew Leckie not involved for this clash, Kruse seems the logical choice to start on the right for the Socceroos. That will most likely see the Bayer Leverkusen star come up against in-form left-back Ryan Bertrand. 

The Southampton defender didn’t feature against Turkey – with Danny Rose preferred – but Hodgson is a fan of Bertrand and will want to see him in action before the Euros so may rest the Tottenham man and bring him back for the Portugal friendly - their last before the Euros. 

A typical modern-day fullback, Bertrand has loads of energy and the engines to get up and down the flank, with his crossing and overlapping play a feature of his season in the EPL. 

He’ll get a great test of his defensive game against Kruse. 

The 27-year-old often saves his best for the national team and was at his scintillating best in the last outing against Jordan in March, setting up three goals. 

Robbie Kruse

Kruse’s speed is his greatest asset and he’ll always look to get beyond the defensive line with a well-timed run, and getting on the end of passes from the likes of Mooy and Luongo.

Kruse looked buoyant in training this week and is seemingly back to his blistering best after that nasty tackle against Jordan.