Milner to captain England vs Holland, Drinkwater could debut

Date published: Monday 28th March 2016 3:52

James Milner: Midfielder to skipper England on 58th cap

James Milner will captain England for the first time against Holland on Tuesday, while Roy Hodgson has confirmed Daniel Sturridge will start, and Danny Drinkwater could be handed his debut.

Hodgson revealed changes to his line-up would be limited and not wholesale as he had hinted prior to Saturday night’s 3-2 win in Germany, but confirmed Milner, 30, will be one of them and that fellow midfielder Drinkwater “might” make his debut.

Milner will lead his country in his 58th appearance for England and Hodgson said he is the right fit for the current side.

“As far as I’m concerned we’ve always known that James is a very good midfield player in central areas, capable of playing wide but also central areas,” Hodgson told a press conference.

“The way we’re trying to play at the moment and the way that Liverpool play, that’s right up his street.

“That’s the type of football he plays and it’s great he’s got the opportunity tomorrow to play in a position he’s very comfortable in – but also to do it as captain of his country.”

Hodgson also confirmed Sturridge will play. The Liverpool striker has not appeared for England since September 2014 against Norway due to injury.

“I hinted a lot of things and sometimes I regret some of the hints I put out there,” said Hodgson about the expected changes.

“There will be some changes, how wholesale those will be you’ll have to wait and see.

“As you can see James is with me and he will captain the team tomorrow. He didn’t play against Germany so that’s one obvious change.

“A guy like Daniel Sturridge will come into the team on this occasion, we’re pleased to welcome him back after his long lay-off at least from England duty.

“The other changes, we’ll have to wait and see and I’d prefer not to dwell on that side of things.”

When asked if Drinkwater would be involved, Hodgson added: “He might make his debut, yes.”

Hodgson also paid tribute to goalkeeper Jack Butland, whose season is over after fracturing his ankle against Germany.

“Many people were saying it’s going to be a really good fight between him and Joe for the first team shirt.

“To suddenly get your chance against Germany and then to fracture your ankle in that way, it’s a devastating blow.

“I think all of us feel enormous sympathy for him, empathy as well of course because a lot of players have suffered injury in their career and know what it’s like.

“But he was very strong about it all, he was very stoic and said to me: ‘I’ll come back stronger and this won’t affect my career in any way’ – and that was good to hear.

“Our best wishes are with him and we’re all going to miss him because we were hoping he’d be a part of it.”


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