Roy reveals team as Rooney partners Sturridge

Wednesday 03 Sep 2014
Roy Hodgson present Wayne Rooney with the captain's armband

Roy Hodgson has named his first starting line-up of the new campaign and is set to play a 4-4-2 formation against Norway.

The Three Lions kick off the season at Wembley on Wednesday, and Hodgson has selected a team with an average age of just 24.

New England captain Wayne Rooney will lead the side out and play alongside Daniel Sturridge, while 20-year-old Everton defender John Stones starts at right-back. 

England v Norway

International Match
8pm, Wednesday 3 September 2014
Wembley Stadium connected by EE

"Joe Hart will play in goal, John Stones will play at right-back, Leighton Baines left-back and the two centre-backs will be Cahill and Jones," said the England boss. 

"In the midfield, the two wide players will be Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sterling, the two central players will be Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere. 

"The two front players will be Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge. They’ll start the game, then we’ll have an interesting bench. There are some players who can come in and play some part in the game, but that’s the team who will start." 

Hodgson, who will be without the services of newcomer Jack Colback due to injury, says he was keen to see the midfielders and forwards he has selected in action.

While the defensive set-up remains similar to the one in the summer, Jones comes in alongside World Cup ever-present Cahill in the middle as Stones replaces the injured Glen Johnson.

The attacking shape is different, with Hodgson opting for two central midfielders and two up front, but he expects the strikers to work back and assist when Norway are in possession of the ball.  

"I wanted Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge to play," said Hodgson. "And it seems to me the way we’ve put them on the field is the best way to get them to play the game they are used to playing. We’ll make it very clear to them what we expect from them in those roles. 

"With the six in front of [the defence], there are lots of ways you can manipulate them, but the bottom line is you are always going to need at least one forward, and at least one midfield player who has an idea about defensive duties and you can go from there.

Rooney and Sturridge

Rooney and Sturridge will partner up front

"What I really want is for Wayne to play as a forward alongside Daniel and for one of them to be able to drop in when we are defending to help us out in the midfield. But is that too much to ask? 

"As it happens I don’t think so and I don’t think Wayne and Daniel think so either, so that’s what I’m hoping to see them do." 

He added: "Even though there is a buzz at the moment for three at the back, we don’t intend to go down that road for the moment as we feel we have players perfectly suited to playing with four, and we have the four to do that. 

"When it comes to formations there’s a risk that there will be trends and sometimes people will expect you to follow them. Sometimes that ends with you trying to put square pegs into round holes. 

"We’re trying hard not to do that and to make certain that the players who go on the field [against Norway] feel comfortable with what we ask them to do." 

England Team: Joe Hart; John Stones, Phil Jones, Gary Cahill, Leighton Baines; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jordan Henderson, Jack Wilshere, Raheem Sterling; Wayne Rooney (c), Daniel Sturridge.

England meet Norway at Wembley on Wednesday night to kick off the new season. You can buy tickets online here...

By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor