Roy Hodgson is set to keep faith with the strike partnership of Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck and is likely to leave Harry Kane on the bench for England’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania on Friday night.
Kane’s remarkable form for Tottenham Hotspur has pushed him into the England squad and Hodgson predicted at his press conference that the young striker would “make his full senior debut over the course of the next two games”. He also has Tuesday’s friendly against Italy in Turin if he does not feature at Wembley.
Hodgson said he would ignore the hype around Kane when he picked the team. “There is always going to be a situation where there is a clamour for him to be thrust straight in,” he said. “I would like to think I don’t either succumb to that clamour, or am put off by the fact that if I did succumb to the clamour, I was making a populist decision.”
The Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand is due to join up with the squad on Sunday. Bertrand had originally been chosen as a replacement for Danny Rose, who went home injured on Wednesday having himself been called up to replace Luke Shaw.
Hodgson said Manchester City’s James Milner and Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling were likely to return to their clubs once the qualifier against Lithuania is out of the way.
Hodgson said: “When you get someone like a Sterling or Daniel Sturridge or now Harry Kane, it’s a little bit ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t’. If we put him in from the start and he doesn’t go well [people will say] we should have been a bit more solicitous in giving him a bit more time to find his feet. If we don’t put him in and it doesn’t go so well, we are guilty of not giving a form player his chance.
“It is a question which has to be resolved: do I start him in the game or do I perhaps bring him on in the course of the game? Do I start him in the game against Italy? Do I not start him in either game? This is my decision – one I have to deal with – and whatever decision I make there are always going to be possibilities out there, where people would say, ‘I would have done it a different way’.”
Hodgson said he had spoken to Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and manager Mauricio Pochettino, and was confident they would act in the best interests of Kane concerning the club’s post-season friendlies in Australia and possibly Malaysia.
Hodgson said: “I am pretty confident that between the club, Daniel – who I have also spoken to – Mauricio, Harry and Gareth Southgate, they will find a solution to that without any problem at all. It needs to be remembered with Harry has done all the hard work. He has played all those qualifying games, which weren’t easy, to get himself to the [Under-21 European Championship] finals. I hope they find a solution that everyone is happy with.”
Hodgson revealed that Sturridge had been sent home with a “slight tear” and was “absolutely devastated” to be injured again after a season ruined by muscle injuries.