Roy Hodgson is “pleased” with the selection headaches he has before England’s Group B curtain-raiser against a Russia side missing two first-choice midfielders.
- England and Russia begin their Group B campaigns at the impressive Stade Vélodrome
- Russia helped to eliminate England in qualifying for UEFA EURO 2008
- Roy Hodgson’s England won all ten matches en route to UEFA EURO 2016
- Russia are without a victory in three games, conceding seven goals in that time
- Follow our team reporters for the inside track: @UEFAcomSimonH and @UEFAcomRichVP
England: Hart; Walker, Cahill, Smalling, Rose; Dier, Alli; Lallana, Rooney, Sterling; Kane.
Russia: Akinfeev; Smolnikov, V Berezutski, Ignashevich, Schennikov; Golovin, Neustädter; Smolov, Shatov, Kokorin; Dzyuba.
Doubtful: Glushakov (muscle strain), Torbinski (virus)
Roy Hodgson, England manager
We’ve got qualities, there is no doubt about that – the fact we are so inexperienced in age and number of caps can’t possibly be seen as an advantage, but the lack of experience we have in the team is counteracted in some way by the youth, energy and enthusiasm of a group of players keen to do well. We’ve only three players who’ve survived since EURO 2012.
There is definitely a selection headache in terms of so many good players who could quite easily command a place in the team. I’m pleased with the headaches and that having gone through three matches and some intensive training we still have all our players available. We know we have a team who, if they perform to the level we think they can perform to, will make it difficult for our opponents.
We have a lot of respect for Russia. We think they are a very good team, a very experienced team with lot of players who’ve played together a long time at CSKA and Zenit.
Leonid Slutski, Russia coach
If we knew the English team today, it would be a bit easier for us. Therefore we are using the same logic in our preparations by naming the starting line-up as late as possible.
There is always a debate between youth and experience. It is impossible to say which is better and we have had this discussion on a number of occasions. We will also have a lot of players who will be experiencing a major tournament for the first time.
I don’t think it would be correct to say whether this is the most important match of my career. I know there is a lot of responsibility with the whole country watching and I would like us to play good football tomorrow and for them to get the result they want.
Dzyuba scored 29 goals in all competitions last season and was one of the top scorers in the group stage of the Champions League. He has a number of great qualities aside from his height.