England manager Roy Hodgson is set to ring the changes against Lithuania tonight, with a number of players set to earn their first start for England.
With the Three Lions already guaranteed top spot in Group E by some distance, Hodgson has earmarked the trip to Lithuania as a chance to give some of his fringe players the opportunity to put themselves in contention to make the squad for France next summer.
However, the calibre of some of those set to feature has led to accusations that Hodgson is “giving away easy caps” and with the game likely to see the 33rd player of this qualifying campaign used there are some claiming he is making a mockery of the hard work that has gone into earning an international call-up in the past.
Today we’re asking you to let us know how you feel. Is Roy being sensible in giving others a chance or is he showing a lack of respect to the process?
Have your say in the poll below and read on to see some of the players at the centre of this debate.
Phil Jones – Manchester United
The Red Devils defender has shown in the past, for club and country, that he is a contender to anchor the Three Lions’ defence for years to come.
However, to add to Jones’ 17 caps at a time when he has played just 54 minutes of football this season raises questions. United boss Louis van Gaal is said to have requested that Jones feature in order to get some much-needed game time. This may be a dead rubber but is treating it like a reserve match a step too far?
Dele Alli – Tottenham Hotspur
Unlike Jones, Alli has been a mainstay for his club this season, playing in 10 games so far and netting one goal.
However, those games mean the 19-year-old has made a total of 14 top flight outings having previously plied his trade in League One with MK Dons. Alli may have a clear raw talent but are there more experienced and perhaps deserving midfielders out there?
Jack Butland – Stoke City
Former U21 number one Butland has had an impressive start to the campaign with Stoke. The 22-year-old though is still a long way off rivalling Manchester City’s Joe Hart for the senior goalkeeping role and but for City leaning on the FA to rest their man the Potters ‘keeper would surely miss out again.
Danny Ings – Liverpool
Ings has hardly put a foot wrong at Liverpool, scoring three goals in the limited game time he has been afforded at Anfield.
It is that limited game-time though that raises questions about his inclusion, however. QPR’s Charlie Austin, for instance, may have dropped back down to the Championship, but seven goals in nine outings so far show he is clearly in a rich vein of scoring form and warrants England consideration.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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