Thursday 14 December 2017

Lampard injury may give Rooney chance in England midfield

Sam Wallace

Frank Lampard is Roy Hodgson's only injury doubt for the World Cup qualifier against San Marino at Wembley tomorrow as the England manager ponders using Wayne Rooney in the midfield role he has played for Manchester United of late.

Lampard, who is nursing a knee injury, played a small part in training before the squad travelled to the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire, where they will be based ahead of the game. They will train at Arsenal's London Colney this morning.

Hodgson may consider resting Lampard to ensure his availability for the second World Cup qualifier in Poland on Tuesday even if the midfielder is passed fit for Wembley.

His absence would open up the question of who captains the side given that Steven Gerrard is suspended. The two most likely candidates are Rooney and Joe Hart.

Rooney played in a midfield role in United's 3-0 win over Newcastle, with Shinji Kagawa, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck all occupying more advanced positions for much of the game.

In the qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine last month, when Rooney was absent, Hodgson deployed Tom Cleverley behind the main striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Hart said this week he expected Rooney to get the captaincy: "I've no idea, but I'm pretty sure it will fall to Rooney. He is our star man with 10 million caps at the age of 26. I imagine he is a little bit further up the queue than me.

"Of course I would (like to be captain), anyone would, but that's life. I didn't go into goal thinking that I wanted to be captain. I just want to play. I'm happy to play and do my best for the team.

! Whether you've got the band or you haven't got the band, it is a great thing to play for your country. I really do mean that."

Against a team that have won just one game in their history, conceding 473 goals in 114 games, Hart was aware he may not be called into action often.

"As a kid, you can't help but enjoy when your team are getting hammered, getting loads to do," he said. "The reality side is, it is a job and a livelihood and we need to win.

"Ideally, I don't want to touch the ball, I want us to win 10-0 and me not to touch the ball. That's the beauty of football. It doesn't matter how good a side you are or how big the expectations, sometimes you are under the cosh and sometimes I am required to do things."

The English FA have announced that they have sold out all 90,000 seats for tomorrow's game, despite the fact that England are playing the lowest team in FIFA's international rankings.

San Marino, a country with a population of just 30,000, requested an allocation of just 100 tickets for their fans.

Pricing has proved key, particularly for families. A record of 22,000 family tickets have been sold. A parent can bring two children for around £50 -- the same price as a single ticket for many Premier League games.

(© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent Sport Star Awards

Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport