Roy Hodgson will reassure his first-choice England goalkeeper Joe Hart that he will start the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine, following the Manchester City man’s mistakes for England against Scotland and then on Sunday against Cardiff City.
Hodgson will name his squad on Tuesday afternoon at Wembley for the two games, the first a week on Friday, the second four days later in Kiev, with only a few changes expected from the squad he used in the 3-2 win over Scotland. There are doubts over Ben Foster, who is Hart’s understudy and was substituted with a foot injury by West Bromwich Albion against Everton at the weekend.
Hodgson reiterated his faith in Hart after the Scotland friendly and there are no plans to leave the goalkeeper out of the starting line-up for the two crucial games in England’s World Cup qualifiers. Nevertheless, there are some interesting decisions for Hodgson, who was at Old Trafford last night for the Premier League game between Manchester United and Chelsea. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is out of action, and Andy Carroll and Aaron Lennon are still injured.
Daniel Sturridge is set to be included in the squad and his manager at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers, expects the striker to be pushing for a starting place. “I’m sure Roy will have noted his performances,” Rodgers said. “If you assess the world’s great strikers – the pace and power they have, the touch, good in the air, two good feet, super quick – then he possesses all of that. There are areas to improve in his game but we have released the pressure from him.”
Hodgson is likely to pick a larger than usual squad to counter the inevitable withdrawals following this weekend’s round of fixtures. Long shots include the uncapped Andros Townsend, the outstanding player for Spurs against Swansea on Sunday, and even the 19-year-old Ross Barkley at Everton.
Barkley, who has started the season well, is more likely to be in Gareth Southgate’s first squad as Under-21s manager. Southgate will also name his players today, with European Championship qualifiers against Moldova at the Madejski Stadium a week on Thursday and then in Finland four days later.