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Smalling: Lots of players in the frame for Montenegro

Chris Smalling believes a number of England players earned starts against Montenegro after impressing in Friday’s 8-0 rout of San Marino.

The Three Lions dispatched FIFA’s joint lowest-ranked side with ease in Serravalle to record their biggest win since 1987, with Roy Hodgson opting to name a number of fringe players to face the minnows.

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, Smalling believes some of his team-mates may have earned themselves a start on Tuesday.

“We’ve got a very strong squad, it’s well over 20 and I think a lot of people have put their cases forward for Tuesday because we know that’s the big one,” the Manchester United defender told Sky Sports.

“It’s great to see a lot of the lads just all chipping in. Wazza (Wayne Rooney) scored a great free kick but you could see there’s goals all around the team and the subs coming on as well so it was a good all-round performance.”

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

“It was one of those where you don’t have too much to do but we started that first half flying with those first five goals,” Smalling added.

“Even before the first goal I think we had four or five chances straight in front of their goal so it was great to see.

“We did carry on in the second half, when we knew it was probably going to be a bit more difficult. It was a good game overall.”

Sat 23 March, 2013
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