Townsend a doubt for England, while Lampard faces the axe
In an ideal world, Roy Hodgson would probably have been happy to keep the same England starting XI that overcame Montenegro 4-1. However, injuries and suspensions look set to force his hand.
As soon as Kyle Walker picked up a second yellow card against Montenegro, Hodgson knew he would have to reshuffle, and in the absence of Glen Johnson he’s left with a straight choice between utility men Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.
We’ve already made our own judgement call on this site, though Hodgson may now have to rethink the whole of England’s right side, if the Three Lions’ stand-out performer from that 4-1 win, Andros Townsend, is ruled out after picking up a knock.
At this stage, the noises coming out of the England camp are still hopeful, but if Townsend doesn’t make it then the hosts’ attacking threat will be dampened, bringing into some doubt England’s comfortable-looking 1/4 price for the deal-sealing win against Poland.
Furthermore, it begs the question of how Hodgson should play it, if this eventuality occurs. The natural (if not universally popular choice) would be to bring in James Milner in a straight swap.
Although Milner would be considered the ‘safe’ choice, opting to bring in the more attacking Raheem Sterling may be one bold move too far for England’s manager, as the Liverpool teenager has only started one Premier League game this season.
Meanwhile, there are also rumours circulating that Hodgson could yet swing the axe on Frank Lampard in the heart of midfield, with Jack Wilshere apparently being readied to replace him.
This could be seen as harsh on Lampard who performed assuredly in his role alongside skipper Steven Gerrard against Montenegro, though Wilshere’s energy and zest may be preferred.
It seems unlikely that Hodgson would tinker with the left-hand side or indeed Wayne Rooney playing behind Daniel Sturridge after the pair combined effectively against Montenegro.
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