11 Sep 2012

England take on Ukraine in World Cup qualifier

After Britain’s success in the Olympics and Paralympics, normal service begins tonight with an England football match at Wembley.

After Britain's success in the Olympics and Paralympics, normal service begins tonight with an England football match at Wembley (Reuters)

Roy Hodgson’s team play Ukraine in a World Cup qualifier following their 5-0 win against Moldova on Friday.

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling, who is just 17, has won his first call-up to the senior squad, but is not expected to play.

He, Southampton captain Adam Lallana and Tottenham midfielder Jake Livermore are there in case England suffer any more injuries, with Theo Walcott ruled out through illness and doubts about Daniel Sturridge’s condition.

Chelsea duo John Terry and Ashley Cole are also unfit, as is Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.

England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said: “It is great for him to be called up and get a feel for the senior group because it won’t be too long before he becomes a regular in this group. He is that good.


“He is a mature 17-year-old. There is nothing flash about him at all. He is a quiet kid. He works hard and listens and that is the key when you are that age and a good player.”

Lallana admitted he thought Saints manager Nigel Adkins was joking when he told him he had been called up to the senior squad.

“I didn’t think the gaffer was being serious when he called to tell me this morning,” he told www.saintsfc.co.uk. “I was at home about to head into the training ground when he called – I must have asked if he was having me on a dozen times! “I’m totally shocked to be honest.”

England beat Ukraine 1-0 at Euro 2012 to reach the quarter finals, and Gerrard said tonight’s match would be tough.


“They are a group of players who have played together for a long time. Technically they are very good. If you stand off these players, they can hurt you.

“There were times in the Euros when we gave them too much respect and stood off them and they had a few dangerous opportunities to score.

“Over the 90 minutes they could feel hard done by not to have got at least a point.”

Gerrard is due to win his 98th cap and could reach the 100 mark against San Marino next month.

England are in group H, alongside San Marino, Poland, Montenegro, Moldova and Ukraine. The 2014 World Cup finals are in Rio.