Richard Heathcote – The FA
Jack Wilshere and Wayne Rooney will play 45 minutes each at as England prepare to get back on the road to Rio.
Arsenal midfield star Wilshere and Manchester United striker Rooney have been released by their clubs for the friendly clash with Scotland, despite fitness concerns.
ButEngland manager Roy Hodgson has assured Arsene Wenger and David Moyes that the the duo will not play more than one half. Wilshere missed the bulk of his club’s run-in last season because of a troublesome ankle injury that required surgery in June.
Rooney has been sidelined with a shoulder injury.
is likely to start against Scotland. Wilshere has been earmarked to play in the second period.
Hodgson said: “We realise that this fixture may not have come at a convenient time for the clubs and I am fully aware that they have important games coming up at the weekend.
“They know I will be sensible with their players.”
Hodgson sees the friendly against Scotland as a vital preparationmatch – “it is not going to be an after-you-Claude game” – ahead of thefour qualifying matches England have left as they bid to reach next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
“I can assure the fans that we are absolutely dedicated to reaching the finals,” said Hodgson.
His men will face Moldova at Wembley followed by a trip to the Ukraine, with home games against Montenegroand Poland as the finale of their qualification campaign. Hodgson added: “We will leave no stone unturned, and the players will sweat blood if necessary to get there.”
Fivedays before England play Moldova on September 6, there is a ‘Super Sunday’ of Premier League matches televised by Sky – with Liverpool v Manchester United at Anfield and Arsenal v Tottenham at the Emirates.
Severalof Hodgson’s key players will be on club duty including his captain Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson of Liverpool and United stars like Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Chris Smalling, Ashley Young and possibly Rooney – if he’s still at Old Trafford.
Atthe Emirates, the likes of Theo Walcott, Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal and Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe are likely to feature.
There were reports that Hodgson was ‘furious’ with this potentially damaging fixture arrangement – but he angrily denied it.
Hodgsonsaid: “It disappointed me that in my absence – I was on a Greek island at the time – I was told there were headlines claiming I was furious. How could I be furious when this is the first time I have spoken about it?
“I am totally accepting of the situation. I do not expect the Premier League to tailor their fixtures around the national team.
“And I fully expect Sky – who pay a lot of money to the Premier League – to show the fixtures they want. I don’t have any problem with it at all. I may been used in that way.”