England team to face Ecuador – Wayne Rooney asked to prove fitness by Hodgson

Roy Hodgson concerned about Rooney’s sharpness ahead of 2014 World Cup

England team to face Ecuador – Wayne Rooney asked to prove fitness by Hodgson

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June 4th, 2014

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England face Ecuador in Miami this evening, with the Three Lions playing their penultimate warm-up match before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Roy Hodgson has decided to try out a 4-2-3-1 system for the friendly game, with Wayne Rooney retaining his place in the team although the Manchester United will be part of the attacking three rather than play the lone forward role.

That particular spot will go to Rickie Lambert, with Ross Barkley operating in the hole and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right flank as the Arsenal winger aims to show Hodgson that he merits a place in the starting XI against Italy on 14 June.

Rooney is on record as disliking having to play left-wing although it appears that the 28-year-old has questions to answer about his match fitness and sharpness following a lacklustre showing against Peru on Friday night.

“The thinking behind Wayne starting a second game is that he played only 60 minutes the other day,” Hodgson said. “He didn’t play many games before he joined us.” Rooney had suffered a groin injury for Manchester United towards the end of last season.

“We think that he’s recovering his match fitness and that starting a game will be to his advantage. We’ll see how long he plays and that will be based on how we think his fitness is progressing.

“Wayne is one of 23 players. I’m very happy to have him here. I don’t have to share the obsession that ‘he has to play here or he has to play that’. As far as I’m concerned, I look at the players at my disposal and decide what they need and what we need. Then I expect them to do it.

“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.

“He can [play on the left], absolutely. 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. He can play centre-forward, behind the centre-forward and wide.

“If he’s done all of those things at the very top level for Manchester United, there is no reason why I can’t use him in those positions as well.”

Jack Wilshere will start his first game since March when he lines up in a deeper midfield role alongside Frank Lampard, with James Milner and Luke Shaw replacing Glen Johnson and Leighton Baines respectively in the full-back positions.

Ben Foster starts in goal, with Phil Jones lining up alongside Chris Smalling as Hodgson makes ten changes to the team that started against the Peruvians as the manager watches to see how the 4-2-3-1 system works against a side who will line up against France, Switzerland and Honduras in the World Cup.

Probable England team to face Ecuador: Foster; Milner, Smalling, Jones, Shaw; Wilshere, Lampard (c); Oxlade-Chamberlain, Barkley, Rooney; Lambert

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