ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson has declared his intention to make wholesale changes against Chile tonight in order to help assess the international credentials of his fringe players, even if that means sacrificing their current 10-match unbeaten run.
Hodgson has confirmed he will select either Celtic’s Fraser Forster or Norwich’s John Ruddy in goal ahead of regular No1 Joe Hart, while uncapped Southampton duo Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana are also set to play some part.
And with match-time running out before next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil, Hodgson is set to treat tonight’s friendly with the South Americans and Tuesday’s clash with Germany – both at Wembley – as auditions for a place on next summer’s grand stage.
“I’ve got to put the performances in front of protecting an unbeaten run,” he said. “I do need in these two games to have a look at one or two players who are heavily knocking on the door.
“There’s only these two matches, plus the one in March [against Denmark] to do that. I can’t dismiss the need to give some playing time to people who we need to know more about.
“I’m not trying to play down the importance of winning games, but I’m not going to do it if it will be at the detriment to have a look at some players. I need to be wiser in March with regards to some players than I am now.”
Midfielder Frank Lampard is set to captain the side in the absence of regular skipper Steven Gerrard through injury, and will be presented with a golden cap by World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst before the match to mark his achievement of more than 100 international appearances.
Southampton striker Rickie Lambert is also missing having picked up an injury in training, while Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge is a major doubt.
Tonight’s match is the first between England and Chile since 1998 when the Three Lions lost 2-0 at Wembley and former Liverpool striker Michael Owen made his international debut.