Roy Hodgson set to start with Theo Walcott but Andy Carroll left out

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Winger's sparkling display against Swedes wins call-up as Rooney returns for Ukraine

Donetsk

Roy Hodgson was last night considering unleashing Theo Walcott upon Ukraine in England's decisive final Euro 2012 group game tonight after the Arsenal winger was passed fit following an injury scare earlier in the week.

The England manager is eager that he does not rely upon the same starting XI in every game, especially if the team have to play Spain in the quarter-finals this weekend in the energy-sapping temperatures of a Ukrainian summer. The nature of the pressing, defensive style England would be forced to play should they face the defending champions would, Hodgson believes, necessitate some fresh players.

With that in mind he is toying with the idea of tonight resting James Milner, who has started both games against France and Sweden and replacing him with Walcott who came on to such effect in the win over the Swedes. Against Ukraine, Andy Carroll will make way for Wayne Rooney, returning from his two-game suspension tonight, who starts in attack alongside Danny Welbeck.

While Hodgson is not expected to name his team until this morning, the Walcott option is a real possibility. He missed training with a problem in his hamstring and calf on Sunday but took part in the session yesterday before England flew from their base in Krakow to Donetsk. It would be Walcott's first start for England in a tournament game.

The Ukraine manager Oleg Blokhin has his own selection concerns over striker Andrei Shevchenko who he rated as only "50-50" to start tonight's game given his knee problem. Blokhin lost his cool when questioned at length about Shevchenko's fitness last night at a press conference at the Donbass Arena. "I don't look good in front of my players if I talk only about Shevchenko, his career and his private life," he said. "I have 22 other players."

England only need a draw to progress to the quarter-finals as the second-placed team in Group D which would require them to come back to Donetsk for a quarter-final on Saturday. If they win, and France only manage to draw against Sweden, England will finish top of the group. England have to better France's result should the French also beat Sweden in order to finish top of the group. The winners of the group qualify for Sunday's quarter-final in Kiev.

There remains the possibility that places in the group between France and England could be decided by Uefa co-efficient, if the two teams cannot be separated on goal difference and goals scored. England have the superior co-efficient, which is calculated by Uefa on results stretching back over a period of four years. There is even a scenario in which England could qualify even if they lose – providing France lose too.

That was not a scenario on Hodgson's mind last night when he accepted that the 3-2 victory over Sweden had raised expectations among England supporters who had gone into the tournament expecting little from their team.

"You play football, at international level, to try and get people carried away," Hodgson said. "Dreaming is what this is all about. Expectations are what international football is all about.

"We've got to be happy that people believe we can go a bit further than people thought when we started the competition. That's not to say we can fulfil those ambitions. I know the team has belief in itself.

"We're talking about individual cup finals. Things can happen that you can't control. We've seen some very good teams go out of this competition already. We've got a chance, but guarantees do not exist."

Hodgson said that Rooney was aware of his responsibilities coming back into the side.

"It won't just be me making that point: Steve [Gerrard, the captain] and the other players will be keen to remind him that what we require is a good team performance. We want him to make us a better team and help us win the game of football.

"I've been impressed with him in training, talking to some of the young players, and playing a major part. He knows how important the occasion is for himself and for his team-mates."

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
tv

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
John Moore inspired this Coca Cola Christmas advert
people

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
A Rutherford Raiders shirt with the PornHub sponsorship
football

Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser

Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe gives a strong performance in Horns
film

Review: Alexandre Aja's film is a Twin Peaks-style mystery

News
Apple CEO Timothy Cook
people
News
i100
Life and Style
Jamie Oliver’s version of Jollof rice led thousands of people to post angry comments on his website
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film

Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study

Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment
Shelley Duvall stars in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
film
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes