Hodgson allows England quintet to miss Lithuania trip

Date published: Saturday 10th October 2015 10:51

Roy Hodgson: One qualifier to go

Roy Hodgson will assess his options for Euro 2016 when England go in search of a 10th win from their 10th and final qualifying clash in Lithuania after allowing five senior players to miss the trip.

Captain Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick, who both missed Friday night’s 2-0 win over Estonia at Wembley through injury, will return to Manchester United.

Stand-in skipper Gary Cahill, Joe Hart and James Milner, who all played 90 minutes against the Estonians, also will not travel.

Goalkeeper Jack Butland, defenders Phil Jones and Phil Jagielka, plus midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, are in line to start in Vilnius.

“We have other players I need to see in that game,” Hodgson said.

“Gary Cahill has occasional back problems and we were a bit concerned with A the flight and B the artificial pitch.

“In a choice of taking him or Smalling alongside Jagielka and Jones, I went for Chris Smalling.

“Joe Hart is being left behind against his will, because he wants to play, so we can see Jack Butland.

“James Milner; I wanted to play Jonjo Shelvey in this game, so I don’t need James there, because I’ve got the players to cover.”

Hodgson does not expect Rooney’s ankle problem or Carrick’s groin injury to keep the pair out of United’s fixture at Everton on Saturday week.

Rooney was presented with a golden boot in recognition of becoming England’s record goalscorer – by Sir Bobby Charlton, the man whose record he beat – ahead of uninspiring victory secured by goals from Theo Walcott and Raheem Sterling.

Carrick had a fitness test on the morning of the game, with his absence presenting Barkley with an opportunity which the 21-year-old seized.

His performance was one of the few highlights, particularly his sublime pass for Walcott’s opener in first-half stoppage time.

“We saw what he can do,” Hodgson said.

Hodgson believes England should utilise, rather than marginalise, Barkley, whose ability and versatility have led to some debate over his best position.

He is often deployed as a central playmaker at Everton, but Hodgson is confident of using him in midfield and denied being critical of Barkley in the past.

“I, like all his managers, have had to work hard with him on his decision making in terms of when he struts his stuff, which is quite fantastic, and when he plays a little bit more simply,” Hodgson said.

“That’s just an aspect of a coach’s job with a very talented young player. It’s never been a problem.

“I don’t think I can ever be accused of having anything other than the utmost faith in him.”

Hodgson rued the fact England did not score more, but was pleased to get a win which secures top-seed status for next summer’s finals.

“We were a bit unlucky that we didn’t score a few more goals,” Hodgson added.

“But the most important thing – as I said to the players at half-time – is the victory, which is everything here.”

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