Hodgson prepared for Lithuania, on paper at least


  • Football
  • Thursday, 26 Mar 2015

England manager Roy Hodgson and Wayne Rooney during the press conference. Action Images via Reuters / John Sibley

LONDON (Reuters) - Unfolding a piece of paper listing the Lithuania players his England side will face in Friday's Euro 2016 qualifier at Wembley, manager Roy Hodgson admitted he could not pronounce any of their names.

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, however, he insisted he had done his homework on a team expected to be only a minor obstacle on the road to next year's finals in France.

"Despite being supposedly linguistically gifted as I am I still can't pronounce the names," Hodgson, whose side have won all four Group E matches so far, told reporters.

"But we know a lot about them, we've been through their style of play, their players, we think we know enough about them.

"I hope we know enough but more importantly we hope our players are prepared to do what we want to do and play the game we want to play and hope that causes Lithuania the problems we intend to cause them."

Hodgson was inevitably asked whether in-form Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane would get the chance to open his senior international account with a first cap against a nation ranked 94th in the FIFA rankings.

With Daniel Sturridge ruled out by injury, there have been widespread calls from the likes of former England striker Alan Shearer to let Kane loose at Wembley.

But Hodgson stopped short of saying Kane would start despite scoring 19 league goals this season.

"We are very happy with Harry Kane. He has done well all week, and has not in any way damaged his chances of playing in the full senior team," Hodgson said.

"I'm pretty sure over the course of these two games he will make his full debut, but I'm not prepared to give my selection away and when that is people will have to wait and see."

England also play Italy away in a friendly on Tuesday when Liverpool's Raheem Sterling and Manchester City's James Milner could be released back to their clubs.

"I haven't decided (on Sterling being rested for the Italy game), there's an obvious case for him and James Milner who's been playing for quite a while now with a knee problem," Hodgson said.

"There are those two and others who we will have to take a very serious look at. In Raheem's case he needs some specific treatment and who knows, if it goes well tomorrow night, the wise thing might be to give someone else a chance."

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

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