Who are the key players who will make the difference in this match?
If selected, Ashley Cole is going to be under a great deal of pressure following his rant about the FA on Twitter. Cole is one of the most experienced players in the England squad and they need him to be one of the players who holds the defensive line together in the absence of John Terry. Cole will also have to play his normal role of flying up the pitch and proving another outlet as a wide player when the side is on the attack.
The Manchester City defender is one of the players in line for a regular place in the side now that Terry has retired from international duty. Lescott needs to take pressure off of the other players by taking the defence by the scruff of the neck and ensuring that the basics are done well. This means a straight back line, this means not dropping too deep inside the box and it also means being a leader. If he does all of these things well then England shouldn’t concede.
Wayne Rooney returned to the Manchester United team recently after injury and it looked as though he had never been anywhere. Rooney is similar to Gerrard in the respect that he is one of England’s best when it comes to being creative. Rooney played superbly in Manchester United’s win away at Newcastle and Roy Hodgson will want him to drop off, run in behind, go wider and generally do all of the things which make him a pain for the opposition.
Defoe has been key to the Spurs attack and the revolution under the guidance of Andre Villas-Boas. Defoe seems to be enjoying his football more than ever before and the fact he’s been given a long run in the side means he goes into this international in great form. Defoe will play on the shoulder of the San Marino defence and try to make them drop deep which will create space in the midfield. If the defence stays high then Defoe has the pace to exploit this.