ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson is set to deploy Wayne Rooney on his unfavoured left-flank against Ecuador tonight as he ponders using his most experienced forward in the same role at the World Cup.
Rooney has struggled for form and fitness recently and produced an uninspiring display in Friday’s 3-0 win over Peru – his 89th England cap.
Hodgson has promised to shake up the team tonight with versatile James Milner selected to start at right-back and midfielder Frank Lampard to captain the team.
And the England boss stands by his call to move Rooney away from the centre forward role, insisting he can prove to be effective in several areas.
“I think Wayne’s a very useful player in the sense you don’t have to pin him down and say this is the only position he can play,” said Hodgson. “Wayne can play in several positions and he’ll play in a position which we think will suit the team and which he is capable of playing.
“I look at the players at my disposal and decide what they need and what we need. Then I expect them to do it.”
Lampard, set to win his 104th England cap, admits the fear of injury wrecking his international swansong will be on his mind when he leads the team tonight.
The 35-year-old, who announced earlier this week he would leave Chelsea this summer after 13 years, says he will take to the field tentatively in the Sun Life Stadium with the World Cup almost certainly his final hurrah in an England shirt.
“We are all aware of the injury issue so close to the World Cup, the problem you have as a player is do you try and stay away from injury, or do you play your normal game,” said Lampard.
“Fingers crossed we have all 23 players fit when we head to Brazil.”