England manager Roy Hodgson is expected to gamble on a heavily rotated lineup for their final Euro 2016 Group B game against Slovakia in Saint-Etienne tonight.
Henry Winter, Chief Football Writer for The Times, claims that Hodgson could make as many as six changes despite England yet to be guaranteed qualification to the last 16.
He claims that Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge, England’s goalscoring substitutes in Thursday’s 2-1 win over Wales, will come into attack in place of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.
And Winter also reckons that Hodgson will rest captain Wayne Rooney and Dele Alli from his midfield, as well as rotating in-form full-backs Kyle Walker and Danny Rose.
That would mean Hodgson dropping four of the five Tottenham Hotspur players in his squad, with holding midfielder Eric Dier the only Spurs star poised to keep his place.
And Winter understands that Jordan Henderson will be brought in alongside Dier to help protect England’s defence from Slovakia’s key player – Napoli talisman Marek Hamsik.
Liverpool’s Nathaniel Clyne and Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand will reportedly come into defence, with Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere to be given a first start of the tournament in midfield.
While Vardy and Sturridge arguably deserve their starts, the rest of the changes seem designed to rest England’s best players – Walker and Rooney in particular have been outstanding.
That represents a major risk on Hodgson’s behalf, with this new-look England side far from settled ahead of what will surely be a bigger test in the first knockout round.
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