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."

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
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 other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution