Midfield changes possible as England prepare for Sweden test
Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker could be rested for second Group D clash
A battling, if unspectacular performance against France reaped a point for England on Monday, but their midfield could be disrupted against Sweden, with captain Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker doubtful for the clash, which England are 19/20 to win.
Roy Hodgson has admitted concerns over the pair’s fitness, telling BBC Sport, “I will have to assess the freshness of my team and see whether they are able to do that again.
“Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard are both over 30 and had to work really hard. I’m not the only coach wondering ‘can they do it every four days?’”
With Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard withdrawing from the squad due to injuries pre-tournament, some could be forgiven for worrying about the state of the Three Lions’ engine room heading into Friday’s clash.
However, the versatility of England’s midfielders means Hodgson still has an abundance of options to choose from in the midfield area.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, impressive in his first competitive international start against France, could tuck in from the role he played wide left, and instead operate as a central midfielder.
James Milner is also comfortable in the middle, and he too could be a candidate to switch to a central role, in exchange for the right-wing berth he possessed on Monday.
Such moves would pave the way for the inclusion of Stewart Downing or Theo Walcott, which could give the added attacking impetus to the side that many supporters are hoping to see.
Alternatively, Jordan Henderson could slot into the central midfield, after replacing Parker in the latter stages of England’s opening tournament game.
A final option would be Manchester United’s Phil Jones, who would also bring a similar bite to the midfield that could otherwise be omitted in Parker’s absence.
Also possessing the ability to burst from midfield in a similar fashion to Gerrard, Jones could in fact be a very plausible option to take a place in the side against Sweden.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.