England expected to attack from the start against Poland
Manager, Roy Hodgson, wants positive start to calm nerves of players and spectators
England will be told to go out and finish the job of qualifying for the World Cup on Tuesday, and to do so with the same attacking intent they showed in dispatching Montenegro on Friday.
Andros Townsend, whose sparkling debut proved the decisive factor in England's Wembley win, will be asked to repeat the performance against a Polish side no longer with anything to play for, but who could prove stubborn, even dangerous, opposition
Although another young winger, Raheem Sterling, was called into the squad yesterday that was to replace Tom Cleverley, who has a calf injury. Manager Roy Hodgson has decided not to bring in a right-back to fill in for the suspended Kyle Walker, who himself was deputising for Glen Johnson. Phil Jones is expected to play right-back with Manchester United team-mate Chris Smalling an alternative.
“The nature of the victory has given us momentum and the 83,000 people who supported us well will expect to see a very similar performance,” said Hodgson yesterday. The manager is expected to ask England to attack from the off with a view to calming the nerves of players and spectators with an early goal.
“I don't know how Poland will be affected by not being in contention anymore,” Hodgson added. “I can't imagine they will take their foot off the pedal, I think they will come here and try and win the game and get another good result like in '73 [the infamous draw that cost England qualification for the 1974 finals]. We will prepare for the very best Poland can be, and in [Robert] Lewandowski and [Jakub] Blaszczykowski [both of Borussia Dortmund] they have two top-class European players. If we are lucky and they decide not to turn up and allow us to stroll through them so be it, but I am not expecting them to.”
Hodgson actually has nine men unavailable from what is his likely first-choice squad (Johnson, Cleverley, Theo Walcott, Ashley Cole, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Lennon, Ben Foster and Andy Carroll are injured, Walker suspended). Fortunately, in part because he has been ready to give opportunities to young players, England appear to have more depth than has often been the case in recent years.
Nevertheless losing Walker is a blow and Hodgson was visibly furious at his needless booking. Neither Jones, nor Smalling add to the attack in the way he and Johnson do. If England find themselves in need of a goal with 30 minutes left it would be no surprise to find James Milner deployed at right-back.
If Townsend performs as he did Tuesday that will not be an issue.
“I knew about him but it was his form during his loan to QPR that really alerted us,” said Hodgson. “This season I have seen him play a lot of times for Tottenham, as have my staff. He has more than replicated those QPR performances and made us sit up and think about him even more. I am just delighted for the player. It can't have been easy for him, 80,000 people and a game we had to win. He went out and played like a veteran.
”Everyone knows [Jack] Wilshere and [Daniel] Sturridge are the sort of players who could play for England, maybe some people will think Townsend isn't so I suppose that was a little bit bold, but we knew what we were going to be up against. We knew what sort of team Montenegro would play, we knew we had to open doors. The only thing we did not know is whether Andros, who has that capacity, would do it on the night. That is something you never know as a football coach.“
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