How England Will Line Up vs Moldova

Joe Krishnan@joekrishnanContributor ISeptember 6, 2013

WATFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 05:  England manager Roy Hodgson faces the media during an England Press Conference at The Grove Hotel on September 5, 2013 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Roy Hodgson goes into the game against Moldova knowing that a comfortable win will take them one step closer to qualification for the World Cup, but he knows his side must guard against complacency in Friday's World Cup Qualifier.

England currently sit two points behind Group H leaders Montenegro with a game in hand, and now is no better time to the Three Lions to get ahead of their opponents from the Baltic region.

The reverse fixture resulted in a comprehensive 5-0 victory for England at Wembley, with both Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck grabbing themselves a brace back in October.

Hodgson's side can seal qualification with victories in their remaining games, and with their away game against minnows Moldova, whose only win in the group being their 2-0 victory against whipping boys San Marino, many would expect a comfortable triumph in Chisinau. With that in mind, expect a few key players to be rested as a result.

Here, I focus on who the England boss has chosen to face Moldova as they prepare for Friday night's clash, which he announced at the pre-match press conference yesterday, reported by The Telegraph's Jeremy Wilson.


GK: Joe Hart

Even despite the recent criticism over his lack of consistency in goal, Joe Hart is undoubtedly one of the best goalkeepers in world football, and his record for both club and country reinforces that idea. It's fair to say that England's defence has never been rock solid, so to achieve 16 clean sheets in just 33 caps is a remarkable effort.

His commanding presence in the air will be key to regaining confidence from the back, and Hodgson will be keen for his faith in the 25-year-old to shine through with an assured performance from the Manchester City 'keeper.


RB: Kyle Walker

The young Tottenham full-back will be looking to establish himself as a competitor for Glen Johnson's right-back position with a solid display against Moldova. A pacy full-back with bundles of energy and determination, the 23-year-old is known to be caught out of position at times but he is still improving as a player.

Hodgson will be looking to use him as an outlet for Theo Walcott, who will start on the right, stretching the Moldova defence, and his bursts forward will be key to getting deliveries in for the target man in the area.


CB: Gary Cahill

After Rio Ferdinand and John Terry's departures from the national team fold, the side needed another leader to step up to the mark. And while Steven Gerrard is the official captain, Gary Cahill is an example of how players naturally become important figures on the pitch.

A real aerial presence and superb in the tackle, Cahill is becoming a key figure in the England defence, having now received 16 caps, and his partnership with Phil Jagielka will be tested against Moldova with the duo hoping for a clean sheet. 


CB: Phil Jagielka

The Everton centre-back has endured issues with injuries and lack of fitness which has inevitably hindered him from making more appearances for his country, but the 30-year-old is now a mainstay in the national team.

Like Cahill, Jagielka is a leader and is extremely organised at the back. With the ability to read the game similar to John Terry, his pace may not be what it once was. Nevertheless, Hodgson will know that having the pair at the back is likely to result in a solid performance from his defenders.


LB: Ashley Cole

Even with Leighton Baines' emergence as a rival to Ashley Cole's left-back spot, there can be no denying that the Chelsea man is still one of the best in the business. Despite reaching the age of 32, there has been no let-up in Cole's passion, and he has arguably been one of the most consistent figures in the side over the past decade.

Due to his advancing years, Cole tends to refrain himself from racing up and down the touchline, but having the former Arsenal man at full-back gives his goalkeeper a sense of confidence that he will not let him down.


CM: Steven Gerrard

As captain of the side and with over 100 caps, Steven Gerrard is a pivotal aspect of how the England team works. Operating in a deeper role nowadays, the Liverpool midfielder seems to have adapted to a role focusing more on finesse rather than work rate.

Hodgson will be looking for his players to run their attacking moves through the 33-year-old in the absence of Wayne Rooney, with the veteran playmaker certainly capable of playing a pass if he sees it. And while he has suffered from indifferent form in the past few games, expect Gerrard to rise to prominence once more against Moldova.


CM: Jack Wilshere

The fans will be delighted to hear that Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has recovered from a bug to make the starting lineup against Moldova. The 21-year-old's presence in the midfield adds an extra sense of mobility and flair which the team has lacked for years, and it's no surprise that the Three Lions are tipped for success with the wonderkid in the side.

The only concerns are about his injury record, with Wilshere possessing a somewhat delicate frame, but the youngster needs match fitness, and, with a crunch encounter against Ukraine on Tuesday, there is no better time to include him.


CM: Frank Lampard

Critics continue to write him off, but as long as Frank Lampard proves them wrong, we're all happy to have him in the side. At the age of 35, Lampard himself will admit he's no longer able to make attacking runs at every opportunity, but when he is given the chance, he usually takes it.

A threat from set pieces and seemingly able to pick out a pass from anywhere on the pitch, Lampard is set to make his 99th appearance for his country against Moldova. Still possessing the scoring record that has seen him net 29 times for England, Hodgson will be looking to the veteran Chelsea man to fire his side to victory ahead of his projected 100th cap.


RW: Theo Walcott

The sheer pace and agility that Arsenal's Theo Walcott has is a dangerous weapon for England to use, and the combination of him and speed merchant Walker will be a tough combination for Moldova to deal with.

Usually starting on the right-hand side, it's odd that in his 36 caps, Walcott has managed just five goals including one against Scotland last month. His consistency has improved, and that's one of the main reasons why, along with his pace, he has kept the likes of Aaron Lennon out the fold.


LW: Danny Welbeck

Perhaps one of England's most underrated players, it's becoming apparent why Roy Hodgson prefers to start Danny Welbeck ahead of other candidates on the left-hand side. Rather unlike Walcott, Welbeck tends to use the width and then cut inside onto his favoured right foot, usually linking up with teammate Rooney.

However, the Manchester United star is out with a gash to his head, and it will be up to Welbeck and Walcott to provide the main striker with the service he requires. As well as creating chances, his role as second striker has seen him score six times in 17 appearances, and the England manager will be hoping he picks up from where he left off against Scotland.


CF: Rickie Lambert

It's a massive game in Rickie Lambert's short international career as the Southampton forward makes his first start for England after his dream debut against Scotland.

The 31-year-old, who scored 15 Premier League goals last season for the Saints, will be handed a start by Roy Hodgson after his stunning header just minutes after coming on, which helped England to a 3-2 victory over their close rivals.

Arguably one of the best headers of the ball in English football, the former Bristol Rovers striker is also equally adept with his feet, and is an excellent free-kick taker too. Lambert's selection could prove to be a masterstroke from Hodgson in the absence of Rooney, with the forward needing some game time, and a few goals could be expected against lowly opposition on Friday night.


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