England face arguably their toughest qualification game tonight as they go up against Switzerland who reached the last sixteen of this year’s World Cup. We look at the starting XI that Hodgson is likely to go with in tonight’s crucial match.
GK: Joe Hart
There is no doubt that the Manchester City stopper is Roy Hodgson’s number one option and the 27-year-old could be in for a busy evening. Hart performed poorly in his most recent game for Manchester City when he should have dealt with Stoke city’s Mame Diouf’s tame effort, which managed to secure a shock 1-0 for Mark Hughes’ Stoke City.
Hart could come under pressure with the arrival of Willy Caballero at club level but this is Roy Hodgson’s undisputed number one and he will hope for a solid performance from the City stopper.
RB: John Stones
Young Everton defender John stones is likely to deputize for the injured Glen Johnson. Kyle Walker is also injured and he would have provided much needed pace to this England defence.
Stones is a composed defender who is more comfortable as a central defender and Switzerland may look to isolate the young defender with Valentin Stocker who could start for the Swiss and the attacking left full-back, Ricardo Rodriguez who is a highly rated young prospect.
CB: Phil Jones & Gary Cahill
With Phil Jagielka out of form, Phil Jones is likely to start in central defence and the Manchester United defender is progressing under Louis Van Gaal despite Manchester United’s poor start.
The 22-year-old has been highly regarded for a number of years and it is now time for the former Blackburn defender to establish himself as a centre half, which his the his reportedly favoured position.
Cahill is now the most important player in this England defence. The former Bolton defender has improved under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho and is arguably one of the most improved players in England’s squad.
The Cahill and Jagielka partnership could be about to end and Manchester United defender Phil Jones could have a chance to establish himself.
LB: Leighton Baines
The consistent Everton defender is now fully established as England’s number one left back. He may be important both in attack and defensively tonight as he is renowned for his precise left footed delivery.
Baines could come up against Bayern Munich winger Xherdan Shaqiri and if Baines can frustrate the tricky winger England could get a positive result tonight.
RM: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
The young Arsenal midfielder was cruelly robbed of a World Cup appearance through injury suffered in a pre-match warm up. The 21-year-old is one of the most gifted youngsters in English football and is expected to start on the right side of midfield tonight.
Chamberlain is likely to come against the highly rated Swiss left full back Ricardo Rodriguez in what should be an intriguing battle.
CM: Jack Wilshere & James Milner
Jordan Henderson is a major doubt through injury so Hodgson may opt for Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere to be partnered by James Milner, who’s work rate could be favoured to the energy that Fabian Delph could provide.
Wilshere will hope for a big performance tonight to prove his critics wrong, the midfielder has come under a significant amount of media criticism and a partnership of Wilshere & Milner could be used to provide England with the work rate needed to secure a positive result.
LM: Danny Welbeck
Welbeck could be used in a left wing role as England look to play the influential Raheem Sterling in a central role. Welbeck has shown in the past that his pace can be a useful outlet in a wide position.
The Arsenal striker impressed when introduced against Norway and he should have done enough to earn a start.
CAM: Raheem Sterling
The 19-year-old has arguably been the most impressive English performer in the opening three Premier league games. The pace and ability to get turned and attack his opponents back four has seen Liverpool player score two goals in three Premier League games.
The Liverpool youngster is becoming more influential for England as the other English players fail to perform. Roy Hodgson will hope for a big performance from one of the shining light of English football.
ST: Wayne Rooney
It is s a big night for the Manchester United striker as he leads out the Three Lions in his first competitive game as England captain and all eyes will be on the 28-year-old.
The former Everton man has failed to perform at his best for Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United but his ability to bring others into the game could be crucial tonight. If England win and Rooney scores it would be a perfect start for the newly installed England captain.
So here is the side that Roy Hodgson is likely to go with where they are up against their main rivals to top the group in Switzerland.
Stones, Cahill, Jones, Baines
Oxlade-Chamberlain Sterling, Welbeck
Is this side good enough to get Roy Hodgson’s side off to a good start and ease the pressure on the England manager?
Dan Dalton, Pundit Arena.
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