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Carroll handed chance to claim Euros starting spot

ESPN staff
May 25, 2012 « Watch UFC 146 prelims - Live | Chartbeat test »

Roy Hodgson has confirmed Andy Carroll will get the chance to press his case to start for England at the European Championship in Saturday's friendly against Norway.

The Liverpool striker is set to lead the line for the Three Lions in Hodgson's first match in charge, as he prepares his squad for the forthcoming tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

With Wayne Rooney suspended for the first two games of the group stage of the Euros and Danny Welbeck still recovering from a niggling ankle injury, Carroll is one of only two currently available strikers in Hodgson's squad - and will get the chance to nail down a first team spot in Oslo after impressing in training.

"He's done very, very well," Hodgson said. "After a difficult start at Liverpool he ended the campaign very, very strongly and he's taken that into training with us.

"He will start. Quite a lot of my positions are taken care of - quite a lot of them because we are waiting for a lot of players to join up with the squad."

Hodgson also confirmed that Rob Green will start in goal, with Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones, Leighton Baines, Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard also pencilled in on the teamsheet.

The former West Brom manager is still weighing up his options out wide - with a surprise inclusion for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain not impossible, especially if Jermain Defoe does not start in attack alongside Carroll - while Glen Johnson and Welbeck will both miss out due to injuries.

"With Glen Johnson it's more an irritant than anything else because it's an infected toe but obviously it is going to keep him out of the game," Hodgson said, when asked about those suffering from injuries. "Hopefully when we get to London next week he should be okay.

"Scott Parker is good. We were concerned about the fact he came with an Achilles injury and maybe it was going to be a problem for us but in fact he has taken part in all the training sessions and been fully active and will take part in the game tomorrow."

Hodgson showed more concern about Welbeck, although he remains confident he will not need to replace the Manchester United striker in his 23-man squad when it is finalised next week.

"Danny Welbeck is the one that the injury has cleared up less quickly than we had hoped, but again the medical expertise is telling me he will be okay," Hodgson said.

When pressed on whether he still expects to name Welbeck in his final squad, he added: "Yeah I do, but on the other hand it might be that he's still not capable of playing in all the training sessions next week. The doctor tells me he doesn't think that there's a major problem.

"He is an important player in the sense that we are a bit light in the forward area, not least of all because Wayne can't play in the early games."

Hodgson also had some words of commiseration for goalkeeper John Ruddy, who was ruled out of the tournament on Friday after breaking a finger in training. Birmingham's Jack Butland has been called up in his stead.

"He was so excited to be called up, and to break a finger in training in the goalkeeping work was really unfortunate for him," Hodgson said. "We can't take a risk with him, the finger is broken - it will heal before the start of the new season but the medical advice was that there was no chance of him going with us."

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