England play Italy tonight in a friendly at the Wankdorf Stadium in Berne, Switzerland and Roy Hodgson will be hoping to inflict revenge on the side which sent the Three Lions crashing out of Euro 2012. There will be a number of younger and senior players looking to impress the manager who will be starting to plan his side's qualification for the World Cup in 2014. Here's a look at why six of them will be extra keen to impress.
Hodgson has said keepers Butland and John Ruddy are neck and neck for a place in the starting line-up tonight but expect the former to become England's youngest ever goalkeeper as he is named in the first eleven. After being linked with a number of Premier League clubs after his performances for Team GB at the Olympics, this week Butland spoke of how he wants to establish himself as Birmingham City's first choice keeper instead of sitting on the bench of a top-flight club. The 19-year-old also said if he can achieve that then he can start thinking about challenging Joe Hart for England's number one jersey - a bold statement from the young man who must now start his mission with a confident performance tonight against the Azzurri.
After missing Euro 2012 with a thigh injury, Lampard finds himself back in the England fold tonight and will captain the side whilst winning his 91st cap for his country. Manager Hodgson will be hoping that the 34-year-old's experience will see him act as a role-model for the younger players in the squad. Lampard was left gutted after he was ruled out of this summer's tournament in Poland and Ukraine but insists he never even thought about retiring from international football. He has even spoken of his desire to play a part in helping England win the next World Cup and says that if he is good enough, which he believes he is, then his age should not be an issue. He will therefore be looking to impress Hodgson at every opportunity, starting with tonight's game against Italy.
All eyes will be on the 21-year-old tonight after he completed his move to Manchester City for a fee which could rise to £18 million. Rodwell will want to prove that he worth every penny but also he is not set to be just another name on City's books. Many believe the former Everton star will struggle to get anywhere near Roberto Mancini's starting eleven this season and England manager Roy Hodgson is said to be one of those people. Playing and training with the host of stars Man City possess on a daily basis will only make Rodwell a better player and one who could play a massive part in England's road to glory in Brazil in two years time. The midfielder will want to give a good performance tonight as he looks to impress both the manager of his county and his club.
Michael Carrick has not been involved in an England set-up for two years after he asked not to be considered after he did not get any game time at the 2010 World Cup. Even before the World Cup in South Africa, Carrick had been somewhat overlooked by England managers and was only capped 22 times since 2001. With Scott Parker and Gareth Barry missing out through injury and Steven Gerrard being rested, this friendly could mark the beginning of a fresh start for the Manchester United midfielder's international career. A solid performance tonight could see the pass-master start to make up for lost time with England. Carrick's decision to bring to end his England-exile also speaks volumes for manager Roy Hodgson.
Alot has been expected of the left-back ever since he was selected for Chelsea in their Champions League Final against Bayern Munich. Bertrand, making his debut in the competition, gave an assured display on the left side of midfield and not once did he look nervous. An excellent Olympic tournament followed for Team GB and Bertrand celebrated his return to club football with a goal against Manchester City in last weekend's Community Shield. The 23-year-old was deployed in more of an attacking role again when he replaced Hazard on Sunday but it is at left-back where he shines most and will be surely be the long-term replacement for Ashley Cole at Stamford Bridge. Another impressive performance tonight in his debut for his country could see the start of a challenge for Everton's Leighton Baines' title as Ashley Cole's number two for England.
The Tottenham striker will be eager to get amongst the goals tonight but not only to make an impression to the England manager. Defoe endured a frustrating time at White Hart Lane last season as he suffered a lack of opportinutes and although he loves Spurs and would prefer to stay with the North London club, he has made no secret in saying he wants to go somewhere he can be first-choice. Defoe is a dangerous striker who always delivers and Tottenham would be mad to let him go for the second time in four years. With a number of Premier League teams said to be interested in him and transfer deadline day just over two weeks away, the striker will want to promote himself tonight and prove a point to his current employers that they don't need to break the bank to sign new goalscorers when they have him.
image: © whereareyousimon