England benches Rooney, majority of starters for farewell match against Costa Rica
BELO HORIZONTE — England manager Roy Hodgson will field an experimental side as his team’s miserable World Cup draws to a close against Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Center-back Gary Cahill and striker Daniel Sturridge will be the only survivors from Thursday’s 2-1 loss to Uruguay in Sao Paulo, which sealed England’s elimination in the group phase.
But Hodgson insisted that despite the absence of star striker Wayne Rooney and captain Steven Gerrard, it would be “out of the question” to aim for anything except a win.
Ben Foster will play in goal, Phil Jones at right-back, Cahill will play center-back alongside Chris Smalling, and teenager Luke Shaw will play left-back, Hodgson said at a press conference at the Estadio Mineirao.
The midfield will be made up of James Milner, Frank Lampard, Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana, with Sturridge up front, he added.
Southampton left-back Shaw, 18, and 20-year-old Everton midfielder Barkley will be making their first competitive starts for England.
While Hodgson is eager to give as many members of his squad a taste of World Cup football as possible, he also wants to see his side sign off with a victory.
“With a very different team and a lot of players who haven’t played in the tournament so far, I wanted everyone to go home from this tournament — or at least as many as possible — having taken part and played in a game, not just training,” he said.
“We’re very conscious of the fact that our fans are as disappointed and devastated as we are, but they are still here supporting us.
“We came into the hotel and received a lot of sympathy, kind words from them, and we really want to make certain tomorrow (Tuesday) night that they see something that they can take some encouragement from.
“And most importantly of all, it’s a top-class international on the biggest stage of all, the World Cup, so anything else than taking the game very seriously and trying to win the game in its own right would be out of the question.”
Hodgson had already announced that 36-year-old Lampard would captain the side, on what could be his final England appearance, with regular skipper Steven Gerrard starting on the bench.
Lampard is expected to announce his international retirement after the tournament, but Hodgson still hopes to be able to call upon the former Chelsea midfielder in future.
While Costa Rica require a point from the game to secure top spot in Group D, there is nothing riding on the match for England. But Lampard has urged his teammates to stand up and be counted.
“Now we are in a situation where we have to show we’re men,” he said.
Costa Rica also plans to test out some reserves against the English. Coach Jorge Luis Pinto said defender Roy Miller and forward Randall Brenes will start for La Sele. Pinto, however, did not reveal his full line-up or who Miller and Brenes would replace.
Ben Foster; Phil Jones, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw; Frank Lampard (capt), Jack Wilshere; James Milner, Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana; Daniel Sturridge
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