Serravalle (Sporting Alert) — Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard will captain England in tonight’s 2014 Europe World Cup – Group H clash with San Marino at Stadio Olimpico Serravalle.
Lampard, on his 95th appearance for England, take over for Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard, who surprisingly is not in the starting team.
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Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney leads the attack with his Red Devils teammate Danny Welbeck on the bench.
Joleon Lescott and Chris Smalling start at the center-back positions for Roy Hodgson. Leighton Baines and Kyle Walker will be the full-backs.
Meanwhile, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain starts for his injured teammate.
Arsenal winger Theo Walcott, who was expected to start on the right flank misses the game with a groin injury according to team reports, thus opening the doors for his club team-mate Oxlade-Chamberlain start in his place on down the right. Walcott is expected to be out for two weeks with the injury.
Tom Cleverley and an out of form Ashley Young both start as well, with Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe his partner in the 4-4-2 formation.
England are short handed in the backline, with several key players, including Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Michael Dawson, Phil Jones all out injured and the late withdrawal of Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand did not make things any easier for the Three Lions.
Gerrard admits that he was disappointed to see Ferdinand opting out of helping his country qualify for the World Cup, but added that he would not dwell too much on the situation.
“I don’t think it’s for me to comment,” the Liverpool FC star said. “That’s something for the manager to deal with to be honest. I just look at the players in the squad and worry about them players really.
“Of course it’s disappointing Rio’s not here, because he’s a fantastic player and he’s in top form, and it would’ve been nice for him to be here, but he’s not, we move on without him and training’s been really good.”
Ferdinand tweeted earlier: “I’m seeing a San Marino 0-5 England kind of game!! Come on the boys.”
San Marino v England
San Marino: Aldo Simoncini, Fabio Vitaioli, Palazzi, Alessandro Della Valle, Davide Simoncini, Cervellini, Gasperoni, Cibelli, Fabio Bollini, Selva, Matteo Vitaioli
Subs: Federico Valentini, Bacciocchi, Bianchi, Buscarini, Coppini, Alex Della Valle, Rinaldi, Carlo Valentini, Vannucci
England: Hart, Walker, Smalling, Lescott, Baines, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lampard, Cleverley, Young, Rooney, Defoe
Subs: Foster, Parker, Cole, Taylor, Caulker, Milner, Gerrard, Carrick, Osman, Welbeck, Sturridge, Forster
Referee: Alain Bieri (Switzerland)