Hodgson’s search for winning formula begins…
Posted on May 25, 2012 by Richard Petrie
International friendlies have become a much maligned presence in the footballing world recently. However no-one can doubt the importance of England’s upcoming fixtures as they warm up for the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.
Saturday night’s friendly in Norway marks Roy Hodgson’s first match in charge of the national side and the injuries are already starting to take effect, with both Danny Welbeck and Glen Johnson doubtful for the match. With Wayne Rooney banned for the opening two Euro 2012 fixtures Welbeck had been touted as a potential starter in his place. However ,his absence would leave just Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe as viable options, limiting Hodgson’s remit to experiment before the Championships.
Johnson had to leave the squad’s Thursday training session with an infected toe and his Liverpool teammate Martin Kelly has been called up as cover. Phil Jones is a possible starter at right back having played in that position during the season for Manchester United. Perhaps the biggest cause for concern is Scott Parker’s status. Last week Hodgson admitted that the Spurs midfielder could miss out on Poland and Ukraine due to an achilles tendon injury. The 31 year old missed three of Spurs final four Premier League games as a result of the injury, but he did train with the squad on Thursday.
Hodgson has not had a lot of time to work with his new squad and injuries certainly don’t help the situation. The games against Norway and Belgium will give Hodgson a chance to see exactly what stage his side is at and examine what sort of role the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with limited experience, can play. Most importantly the veteran England manager will be hopeful that, injuries permitting, he can develop a strong idea of which eleven players will be taking the field on Monday 11th June for their opening fixture against France.
As for this friendly I’m going for an England win, which is great value at 2.00 with Oddslife. The result may not be the most important thing to come out of this fixture but I still fancy an England win. 2-0 with Carroll and Young grabbing the goals.