Hodgson to gamble on Sterling in England’s clash with Iceland

Date published: Monday 27th June 2016 8:33

Raheem Sterling: Winger has struggled for form

Raheem Sterling: Winger has struggled for form

Roy Hodgson is expected to controversially recall Raheem Sterling for England’s round of 16 clash with Iceland at Euro 2016.

In what would be a huge sign of faith in the winger, Sterling is expected to replace Adam Lallana and will operate on the left of a front three, with Harry Kane through the middle and Daniel Sturridge on the right.

After being criticised for making six changes to the side which beat Wales for the draw with Slovakia, Hodgson is set to make the the same number of changes for the second successive game.

Wayne Rooney and Dele Alli will return in midfield in place of Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson, while first-choice full-backs Danny Rose and Kyle Walker will replace Ryan Bertrand and Nathaniel Clyne.

Hodgson will also recall Tottenham striker Kane, with Leicester’s Jamie Vardy dropping to the bench, but it is the inclusion of Sterling which will raise the most eyebrows.

The Manchester City winger appears bereft of confidence after two poor performances against Russia and Wales, the latter of which saw him substituted at half-time.

Liverpool midfielder Lallana, meanwhile, has impressed England fans with some tidy displays, although has been perhaps guilty of being too wasteful in front of goal.

Incoming City manager Pep Guardiola reportedly phoned Sterling over the weekend in a bid to boost the the 21-year-old, who has been the subject of plenty of abuse both from supporters, with England coaching staff  understood to be concerned he monitors reaction on social media too much.

England captain Rooney publicly backed Sterling in a recent press conference and insists the former Liverpool youngster has no confidence issues.

“From what I’ve seen, his state of mind is fine. He’s been normal around the camp and, on the training pitch, he’s been fantastic, sharp, taking players on, scoring goals,” he said.

“There’s no issue with Raheem at all. His attitude isn’t questioned. He stays behind after training doing what he does normally, and he’s a huge asset to us as a team.

“He’s a fantastic player and one who can turn the game in a split-second.”

Meanwhile, on Sunday Roy Hodgson hit out at claims there is a rift in the camp between Rooney and Vardy.

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