Roy Hodgson has hinted he will hand Andy Carroll his first start of Euro 2012, as he looks to implement an attacking approach for England’s Group D fixture against Sweden.
Carroll, who will make his full international debut with an appearance on Saturday in Kiev, watched from the bench as England drew 1-1 with France in their tournament opener. Hodgson opted for youth against Les Bleus, but suggested he may pair Carroll with Danny Welbeck for the Sweden clash, forcing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out of the starting XI.
Sweden have conceded six goals from headers in recent matches, with Hodgson intimating he plans to take advantage of Carroll’s aerial prowess. While training at the Kiev Olympic Stadium on Thursday, Carroll and Welbeck were paired together as Hodgson ran crossing drills for much of the session.
"The things we work on, quite frankly, should allow us to exploit weakness in any team," Hodgson said. "It is not necessarily a weakness to find crosses hard to deal with if the crosses are of a very good quality. Certainly the first goal that Ukraine scored [against Sweden] was a very good quality cross, a very good run from Andriy Shevchenko, and a quality finish.
"In all the clubs I have worked at I have always done a lot of work on players getting in crossing situations and movement for crosses. Let's hope the message we are trying to put across will help us in that area because if we are going to get behind a team like Sweden, who are very compact centrally, there is no doubt getting down the wings and in behind them in the wide areas will be an important facet of our play.
“But I am not worried about our attacking play. We have the quality of players and people who will score."
Hodgson also pleaded for patience as he looks to mould the team to his preferred style of play. England are clear favourites to defeat Sweden, but Hodgson moved to temper the demand for instant success.
“One would hope people will be patient,” he said. “I am satisfied with what I think we are achieving only three weeks into the job. Maybe I can't satisfy everyone and other people would like to see more.
“I am realistic and pragmatic. Five, six or seven training sessions into the job we are making a fist of it. I am sure we will get better. Just a simple thing like the return of Wayne Rooney [after the Sweden match] will make us into a stronger team and a bigger threat.”
England have not beaten Sweden in the seven times the two sides have met in competitive action, but head into the match one point ahead of their opponents following Sweden’s loss to co-hosts Ukraine.© PA