Hodgson opts against Cup changes

Manager Roy Hodgson has kept the faith with young and old for the start of England’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

All 24 members named in his squad for the matches against Moldova in Chisinau next Friday and Ukraine at Wembley four days later were either at Euro 2012 or in Hodgson’s squad for the win over Italy in Berne on August 15.

It means that despite the thigh injury suffered by Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney at the weekend, there is no recall for Aston Villa forward Darren Bent.

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Instead, Hodgson has called on Daniel Sturridge to supplement his European Championship hit-men Danny Welbeck, Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe.

As Defoe is the only one of the quartet who could be regarded as first choice at their club, and Carroll might well have changed sides before Hodgson’s squad meet at their Hertfordshire base on Monday afternoon, it does seem the England manager is taking a bit of a risk.

Hodgson would doubtless argue Welbeck and Carroll in particular served him well in Ukraine this summer and whilst there is more youth in England ranks as teenagers Jack Butland and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are also in, along with Ryan Bertrand, there is plenty of experience as well.

As anticipated, John Terry has been chosen, although the neck injury that kept him out of Chelsea’s Premier League win over Newcastle on Saturday will need to be assessed once he has reported for duty.

In midfield, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick are all named, along with Manchester United youngster Tom Cleverley, who made his debut against Italy earlier this month.

With Butland and John Ruddy selected as back-up goalkeepers to first-choice Joe Hart, it means Rob Green has lost his place as understudy from Euro 2012, completing a bad 24 hours for the QPR new-boy following Julio Cesar’s arrival as part of the Loftus Road revolution.

Former Sheffield United defender Kyle Walker, who missed out on the European Championship due to a broken toe, has been named at right-back along with Liverpool’s Glen Johnson.

If there is a shock it comes in the absence of Ashley Young, one of the few players to feature both at Euro 2012 and against Italy.

There is no word, either from the FA or Manchester United, whether Young’s absence is injury-related.

Adam Johnson is the beneficiary, though, on the day he outlined precisely why he had abandoned Manchester City’s search for honours in favour of life on Wearside with Sunderland.

“I know the England manager came out and said he wants his players to be playing. Hopefully, I can play,” said Johnson.

“I started in the last game against Italy so, hopefully, it is looking brighter for me now with England.”

Johnson made 97 appearances for City, 43 of them as a substitute, after making a £7m switch from Middlesbrough in February 2010, but had become an increasingly peripheral figure.

Having fallen out of favour with City chief Roberto Mancini, Martin O’Neill’s desperation to take him to the Stadium of Light and his track record in dealing with players proved hugely persuasive.

“Martin’s man-management over the years with players has been brilliant, and that’s what I needed, a manager just to speak to me and talk and have a relationship with,” he said.

“That was one of my main reasons.

“As soon as I spoke to him, I knew what he wanted. He is the type of manager who gives his players confidence, and I think that’s what I need.”

However, while knowing he had little alternative but to leave City, Johnson, 25, admitted: “Looking back, I would probably do it again (sign for City) – I suppose any young lad would in my situation then.

“It was a slightly disappointing end, but I won the Premier League, FA Cup and the Community Shield and played in the Champions League, so it wasn’t all bad.

“But it was a little bit disappointing I didn’t play as much as I was capable of. I owed it to myself to go and play football again and enjoy playing.”

Johnson was handed a debut for Sunderland, whose interest in him dates back to the time before he moved to City, in Tuesday night’s 2-0 Capital One Cup victory over Morecambe and proved an instant hit.

Tottenham striker Defoe ended the uncertainty surrounding his future yesterday by signing a new contract.

Defoe’s place at Spurs appeared to be in doubt after the Premier League side were linked with a number of other strikers, but the 29-year-old has decided to stay at White Hart Lane.

Defoe appeared to cast doubt on his future at Spurs when he declared earlier this summer that he would consider leaving if he was not promised first-team football.

The England hitman started the club’s first two games of the Premier League season, however, and that appears to have convinced him that he is firmly in the plans of Andre Villas-Boas.

The new manager has been linked with a number of forwards, including Leandro Damiao, Loic Remy and Willian.

England squad: Butland (Birmingham), Hart (Man City), Ruddy (Norwich); Baines (Everton), Bertrand (Chelsea), Cahill (Chelsea), Cole (Chelsea), Jagielka (Everton), G Johnson (Liverpool), Lescott (Man City), Terry (Chelsea), Walker (Tottenham); Carrick (Man United), Cleverley (Man United), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Gerrard (Liverpool), A Johnson (Sunderland), Lampard (Chelsea), Milner (Man City), Walcott (Arsenal); Carroll (Liverpool), Defoe (Tottenham), Sturridge (Chelsea), Welbeck (Man United).