8 October 2014 18:35
Roy Hodgson announced his intention to select much the same XI for England’s game with San Marino as that which started against Switzerland.
England made an impressive start to their Euro 2016 Group E qualifying campaign last month, as two Danny Welbeck goals earned them a 2-0 success in Basle.
Hodgson’s men take on minnows San Marino at Wembley on Thursday, in what on paper is the most straight forward of England’s 10 group fixtures.
Despite the relatively weak nature of the opposition, Hodgson suggested he would resist the temptation to tinker too much with his first-choice side.
“I’m not planning on wholesale changes, I’m keen to keep the momentum going,” he said in a media conference on Wednesday.
“The players who played did a good job and they deserve a further confidence.
“Other players are knocking on the door and I’ve got to weigh the two things very carefully…keeping the team together but maybe also using at least one of these two games as a chance to see someone else playing.
“The players look very sharp, very focused. We haven’t trained for long periods of time but what we’ve done has been really good.
“When I do announce the team tomorrow [Thursday] there will be a lot of disappointed faces because everyone has been working hard.”
That suggests there will be another start for Fabian Delph, who trained on Wednesday after sitting out the previous day’s session, while Welbeck earned praise from the manager after his impressive performances since making the switch from Manchester United to Arsenal.
“I’m pleased for him of course,” Hodgson said. “He’s been in my plans throughout the two years, he’s always someone that I follow very closely.
“There has been periods where it’s not always been easy because he’s not had an enormous amount of game time. It’s great now that he’s made his move and he’s one of the first names on the teamsheet.”
England captain and Welbeck’s former United team-mate, Wayne Rooney, said: “Daniel’s a fantastic footballer, I think sometimes he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his ability.
“He’s quick, he’s athletic and he can score different types of goals. As a footballer he’s very intelligent and you’ll see that more and more the more he plays.
“He’ll prove what a good footballer he is. You’ve seen in the Switzerland game what a good player he is.”