Hodgson remains bullish

The absence of several key players has not dented Roy Hodgson's confidence

The absence of several key players has not dented Roy Hodgson's confidence

First published in National Sport News © by

England manager Roy Hodgson is confident he has the players to maintain their winning start to the World Cup qualifying campaign despite mounting injury problems for Tuesday's match against Ukraine at Wembley.

Already without the likes of Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole, Andy Carroll and Adam Johnson, it was confirmed on Sunday defender John Terry will sit out the fixture with an ankle injury. Forward Theo Walcott then became the latest player to be sidelined today with a virus, while Daniel Sturridge is struggling with stomach cramps and missed training.

The absences mean Liverpool teenager Raheem Sterling, Tottenham's Jake Livermore and Southampton's Adam Lallana have all been added to the squad as cover. Yet Hodgson has no plans to throw any of the trio in at the deep end. He said: "It was a good opportunity to invite some young players to come in and be part of the atmosphere."

He continued: "We still have enough good players to be able to deal with the game, but it's always good when you have the chance to invite these players to come in and be a part of the atmosphere and see how things are."

Either Gary Cahill or Phil Jagielka will fill the gap left by Terry at centre-back. England began their Group H campaign with a 5-0 thrashing of Moldova while Ukraine were not in qualifying action over the weekend.

Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin has named a 20-man squad for the trip to London, although he is without the services of Taras Mihalik and Oleksandr Kucher. Moldova will be looking to put in a better shift when they take on Poland in Wroclaw.

Poland were held 2-2 by Montenegro in their opener last Friday and assistant coach Hubert Malowiejski has warned his players they will have to be on their guard against a wounded Moldovan side.

"We cannot draw any conclusions from the fact Moldova lost 5-0 to England, it was simply a bad day at the office," he said on www.pzpn.pl.

"They rarely lose by such a margin and are definitely a better team than the 5-0 scoreline indicates.

"Moreover, Moldova will probably be motivated to redeem themselves against Poland after such a heavy defeat."

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