Roy Hodgson has rebuffed suggestions that making changes to England’s line-up for Friday’s clash with San Marino means he is experimenting.
The Three Lions will host the minnows in front of a sold-out Wembley Stadium, and Hodgson looks set to change the team around, with Tuesday’s trip to Poland in mind.
But the 65-year-old insists the side he picks is one that he knows will win the game, and is prepared to use all members of the squad in both ties.
“I don’t know if it’s a question of experimentation, it might be a question of utilising the squad in a different way because we have a very important game against Poland on Tuesday,” Hodgson told reporters.
“So of course a lot of my thoughts this week have been based on how best to use the squad knowing that really, whatever team I choose at Wembley is likely to be able to win that game, and how many players do I maybe spare and keep fitter, if you like, or fresher for the game on Tuesday.
“That’s been the decision to be made and that’s something we’ve given a lot of thought to.”
Wayne Rooney, named by Hodgson on Thursday as England captain, insists the players are concentrating on their own game, not the opposition.
“We have to focus on ourselves,” said the striker. “We have to play the football we’ve been trying to do.
“We’ve been working hard all week and the manager’s been trying to get a point across to us all, what he wants and expects of us.
“We have to try and make sure we do that the best we can and try and put the training sessions into the game.”
Hodgson meanwhile expressed his delight at Friday’s game being a sell-out, and is keen to make sure his side gives the crowd something to be proud of.
“It’s magnificent,” Hodgson added. “It just goes to show two things: it shows what a fantastic support there is for national team football in the country, and how lucky we are really to have a stadium that takes 90,000 people and to have 90,000 people that want to come and watch us play.
“On this occasion it’s not the opponents who are attracting them, it’s purely our players, so we’re very happy with it, we’re very concerned not to let them down and to do a good job, and that’s what we’ve been working from all week I guess.”