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Selection squeeze for Hodgson

Roy Hodgson is facing a selection dilemma ahead of England’s World Cup qualifier with Montenegro, after Friday’s 8-0 rout of San Marino.

The Three Lions manager selected a number of squad players for his starting line-up at Stadio Olimpico, with regular captain Steven Gerrard named among the substitutes.

Jermain Defoe netted twice, with Ashley Young, Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all also among the goalscorers – and with a top-of-the-table clash against Group H leaders Montenegro up next, Hodgson said some players may have earned themselves a start on Tuesday.

“I thought it was very, very good professional performance,” Hodgson told ITV.

“Obviously we are a class above our opponents but it was good so many of our players got a chance to play. It was good that even at 5-0 we kept playing.

“It’s really good to see so many players who don’t have many caps to their name showing they deserve to be in the England squad, and when it’s their turn to play they can come up with the goods.

“Ashley did very, very well, as did Oxlade-Chamberlain. We’ve still got Danny Welbeck and James Milner, so the choices for us are very good.”

England went ahead after just 12 minutes when Alessandro Della Valle turned into his own net under pressure from Wayne Rooney, before a further four goals in a 14-minute period gave the visitors a commanding 5-0 lead at the break.

And Hodgson commended his players for keeping up the pace of the game even though the result was put beyond doubt early on.

He continued: “I think had the player not scored the own goal Wayne Rooney would have scored. It was an excellent move. I thought we’d actually battered them before the goal went in but it was nice to score the others in quick succession.

“Often when you are leading by that margin at half-time it’s very difficult in the second half. The second half tends to die out, but this one didn’t. I thought we continued to play very good football, and we were more than good value for our three goals in the second half.”

Sat 23 March, 2013
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