England v Poland: Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling called up as Roy Hodgson sticks with youngsters
Sterling will provide cover to Friday night's hero Andros Townsend and Danny Welbeck on the flanks
Monday 14 October 2013
Roy Hodgson seems set to stick with his youth policy for Tuesday night's vital World Cup qualifier against Poland after drafting Raheem Sterling into his squad as cover.
With Tom Cleverley ruled out by a calf injury and Kyle Walker suspended after picking up a booking in Friday's 4-1 win over Montenegro, Hodgson felt he required an additional body.
Rather than opt for experience, Hodgson plucked Sterling out of Gareth Southgate's Under-21 squad as understudy to Andros Townsend, who performed so well on his debut on Friday.
Sterling made his senior England debut in the friendly defeat in Sweden last November.
And Hodgson feels the 18-year-old Liverpool man would provide the freshness so evident in Townsend if anything happened to the Tottenham player.
"If there are any areas in our squad where perhaps an extra type of player could be useful, it is in the wide areas," Hodgson said.
"We will have Danny Welbeck and Andros Townsend, and Tom Cleverley could have played there but he has gone.
"If we need him, Raheem Sterling is the type of player who could do what Andros did on Friday."
With Ashley Cole ruled out by the rib injury that prevented him being in contention to face Montenegro, Leighton Baines will continue at left-back.
Few further changes are anticipated for a game England will be expected to win against opponents whose interest in the competition is over.
However, there are numerous examples of problems being encountered in such situations.
England's failure to beat Poland in 1973 came against a team who were also attempting to qualify.
The shambolic defeat by Croatia in 2007 that cost England a place at Euro 2008 came even though their opponents had already made it through.
And possibly the most memorable moment of David Beckham's career came when he curled home a stoppage-time free-kick to snatch an Old Trafford draw against a Greece outfit who finished behind Finland in that particular section.
Little wonder Hodgson is taking nothing for granted in what must rank as the biggest week of his career, despite his protestations to the contrary.
"Sometimes it is easier to be harsh when people have done well - and I was harsh," he said of his dressing-room demeanour in the aftermath of Friday's win.
"I was very keen to point out one or two things to them. It wasn't anything celebratory.
"I will say this until I am blue in the face, but the one thing I want to guard against is complacency.
"I don't imagine there will be any and certainly after the things I said to them they will have a pretty good idea where I stand on the subject."
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