This team will tell us the plan for England's future


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The Independent Online

Danny Welbeck or Jermain Defoe? One of either Tom Cleverley or Michael Carrick to make way for Steven Gerrard. Two from Gary Cahill, Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka. Not many managers face pulling apart a team that has just won 5-0, but then not many have to make the leap from beating the worst team in international football to a pivotal game against a decent football nation.

Roy Hodgson has some interesting choices to make come tomorrow evening against Poland at the National Stadium, a ground where the Polish FA is obliged to lay a new pitch for every sequence of games. It was built for Euro 2012 as a multi-event venue and so for Friday's friendly against South Africa new turf was laid which will be tomorrow's surface.

As for the England side they will face on it, Poland will not have learned much from watching the video from Wembley last Friday night. With as many as six changes in prospect, including the return of the suspended Gerrard and Glen Johnson, it will be a different side, although there are also strong arguments for Hodgson to keep certain players in it.

Not least Welbeck, who scored two more England goals on Friday, taking his total to four in 12 caps. He has found himself slightly marginalised by the arrival of Robin van Persie at Manchester United, but for England he is now a difficult man to leave out. The confidence with which he flicked in his first goal against San Marino suggested a striker on form.

Defoe, with 17 goals in 51 caps, is the more experienced of the two and made his name as an international striker in Poland eight years ago with a goal in Katowice in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. It would be another two years before he would score again for the national team.

More recently, Defoe scored a spectacular winner against Italy in the August friendly but he had always struggled for consistency in an England shirt. His hat-trick against Bulgaria two years ago was the high-point: for him, three consecutive starts is a significant run in the team and Hodgson might be tempted to show some faith in him. The line-up itself will give us all a much clearer idea of whom Hodgson rates.