Andy Carroll and Rob Green to start against Norway reveals Roy Hodgson
Friday 25 May 2012
England manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed both Andy Carroll and Rob Green will start tomorrow's friendly against Norway in Oslo.
The veteran coach will be taking charge of his first fixture in charge of the Three Lions, and has opted to give Carroll in particular the chance to prove his worth ahead of the forthcoming European Championships.
With Chelsea's Champions League winners yet to join the squad and Wayne Rooney - suspended for the first two Euro 2012 games - not involved, Hodgson does not have numerous options at his disposal.
As a result, he admits a lot of positions have been taken for tomorrow, with Liverpool striker Carroll and West Ham goalkeeper Green occupying two of them.
"Andy ended the season well and that was after a difficult start at Liverpool," Hodgson told a pre-match press conference.
"He ended the season well and he has continued in the same vein with us.
"A lot of positions are taken care of as we're still waiting for the Chelsea players and of course Wayne Rooney.
"I know what I am going to do, but I haven't told the players yet.
"The back four takes care of itself, Rob Green will be in goal and Steven (Gerrard) will start as captain."
Green's return between the sticks will be his first appearance since his ill-feted run-out against the United States.
He will be back-up to Joe Hart at the Euros, more so now with Norwich's John Ruddy ruled out with a broken finger.
Ruddy was one of Hodgson's wildcard selections for Poland and Ukraine, and had planned to delay his honeymoon to travel with the squad.
He will not do so, though, having suffered the injury in training.
"It was unlucky for us," Hodgson added.
"He was so excited to be with the national team and to go to the Euros, but to break a finger, in goalkeeping work too, was really unfortunate.
"We can't take a risk. The finger will heal before the start of the season but the medical advice was for him to stop at home.
"As a result, we've given a chance to a young goalkeeper, Jack Butland, who's cutting short his holiday in Mexico."
Hodgson also reported mixed news on three other injured players in the shape of Scott Parker (Achilles), Glen Johnson (toe) and Danny Welbeck (ankle).
"Scott Parker is good, we were concerned about his Achilles but he's taken part in all the training and will be taking part tomorrow," he said.
"Glen Johnson has an infected toe that will keep him out of the game tomorrow, but we hope he'll be okay by next week.
"Danny Welbeck's injury has cleared up less quickly than we'd hoped, but medical expertise tells me he'll be okay."
Hodgson admitted he is looking forward to his first game in charge of the national side and will be looking to test out a few combinations against Norway.
He said: "I want to say that it would be very nice to win tomorrow and we'll do our best to do that, but to win the first game of the European Championships would please me much more.
"I've certainly been impressed with the enthusiasm and the energy but we're missing a third of the squad, and of that there are some very important players that I've not had chance to see in action.
"It's always good if your first impression of people is a good one and my impression of this group is a very good one.
"It's important to get the best players on the field and play in a style that lets them play their best.
"We're becoming more multi-cultural in all countries so there won't be any revolutionary style. I will be expecting them to play as they play for their clubs week-in, week-out.
"It will be a very proud moment. I've had some proud moments. I'm excited, nervous I don't know.
"I'm more excited to see what some of these players can do as I'm in a learning stage.
"Tomorrow is going to be a very important step on the way, as is next week at Wembley.
"My plan is to get as many players in action."
Captain Gerrard, in the armband on a permanent basis following John Terry's yo-yo spell leading the team, is proud to have been selected by Hodgson, who he worked for at Liverpool.
"It's nice to be named the official England captain, a fresh start with a new manager and everyone is really positive," he said.
On Hodgson, he added: "I got on fantastically well with him at Liverpool. He took the Liverpool job in difficult circumstances.
"The majority of our supporters wanted Kenny Dalglish in from day one and Roy had a tough job, but I can assure everyone he's a great manager, a winner and he can have a successful time as England manager."
Gerrard led England on their tortuous journey through the 2010 World Cup, when they failed to live up to expectations.
Terry returned to lead the side after that, but the Liverpool midfielder is hoping his new spell in charge can be a more successful one.
"It's something I have dreamed of since I was a young boy, and I want to be remembered as a successful captain," he said.
"We never performed at a good level in South Africa, but throughout qualifying we have shown we are a good team and have bounced back.
"We hope we can continue that form going into this tournament."
Gerrard also welcomed Carroll's inclusion, adding: "He finished the season in scintillating form. He was unplayable for us.
"I'm hoping he can continue that form for England and, if he does, he'll be a big bonus for this squad."
With Chelsea's players bringing their Champions League-winning experience to the squad, Gerrard is hoping they can inspire England to shake off their tag as outsiders for the tournament.
Also citing his own memories as being an underdog winner of the trophy, he said: "We've got to go there and give it our best and work hard. You don't have to be the best or favourite side to win it.
"Look at Chelsea, look what we did in 2005. When there is realism, it's not too much pressure and it can help. Let's hope that is the case this time."
Gerrard shrugged off claims that there are divisions in the dressing room after he was given the captain's armband.
He said: "He (Terry) is a fantastic lad and I'm sure he'll support me and get behind me.
"I haven't seen him or spoken to him. He's obviously still busy celebrating the Chelsea win.
"We're united. We're together. We're all after the same thing and that's a win. There's no divides.
"We'll make sure there's no divides as that's what we don't need."
Gerrard believes the inclusion of former England international Gary Neville will help him in his resumed role as skipper.
Hodgson named Neville as a coach in the national set-up after taking over last month, and today said an important part of his role will be "liaising with the players."
Gerrard agreed that Neville is a valuable addition to the coaching staff.
He said: "Players like that are going to help me in my role. It's not just about the captain, it's about having a lot of leaders out there."
The midfielder also spoke about potential racism problems damaging Euro 2012 following reports that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's family have joined Theo Walcott's relatives in missing the tournament for fear of being victims of racial abuse in Ukraine.
"I don't expect it (racism) and I hope all the countries have moved on from that," Gerrard said.
"We'll have to wait and see and it's something maybe UEFA have to address before the tournament.
"I'm hoping like everyone else that racism doesn't play a part in this tournament.
"It's a fantastic tournament and I hope it's about the tournament and not racism."
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