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Roy Hodgson backs strikers to fire England out of their World Cup group
8:14am Monday 9th June 2014 in Sport
Roy Hodgson landed in Rio and then backed his strikers – including “out and out goalscorer” Rickie Lambert – to fire England out of their group.
England’s battered and bruised squad touched down in Brazil yesterday following a feisty encounter with Honduras.
Thanks to surging runs from Ross Barkley, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge, England created plenty of chances but they ultimately failed to convert them and the match ended scoreless.
A strong Italian defence awaits England in Manaus on Saturday, but Hodgson is sure his team will have what it takes to break Cesare Prandelli’s men down.
“We didn't score against Honduras but we scored five goals in the games against Peru and Ecuador, so it would be very harsh to start casting aspersions,” the England manager said.
“Daniel Sturridge is an absolute out-and-out goalscorer and we think Rickie Lambert is too.
“Of course we have got the Rooneys, Welbecks and Gerrards and Lampards, so I don't think we're short of firepower.”
Although ex-Saint Lambert scored a good goal against Ecuador, Sturridge is almost guaranteed to start against Italy in Manaus.
It is the rest of England's attack which Hodgson has to decide the make up of in the coming days.
Barkley performed well in the two games at Sun Life Stadium, but it looks as though he will have to settle for a place on the bench after Hodgson criticised him for giving the ball away.
Danny Welbeck looks to have secured one of the wing places thanks to a good display against Honduras and Wayne Rooney may end up playing out wide after an encouraging display there against Ecuador.
That could leave a space for Raheem Sterling to play just behind Sturridge, as he has done on several occasions for Liverpool this year.
Saints midfielder Adam Lallana could have to settle for a place on the bench, therefore, with Hodgson talking up Sterling.
“There is a good chance he would have played in that position (behind Sturridge against Honduras) had he not been sent off against Ecuador.
“It is not purely Barkley or Rooney, we have got Danny Welbeck who can do it and we have got Sterling.
“Sterling has been excellent in training.”
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