Defoe and Cleverley surprise England starters

07 September 2012 07:17

England manager Roy Hodgson handed Jermain Defoe and Tom Cleverley surprise starts in his side's opening World Cup qualifier against Moldova in Chisinau on Friday.

Hodgson opted to select Tottenham Hotspur striker Defoe ahead of Manchester United's Danny Welbeck, who started all four of England's matches at Euro 2012, while Cleverley edged out United teammate Michael Carrick to fill the third central midfield position.

Defoe scored a fine goal in last month's friendly win over Italy and that was enough to persuade Hodgson to hand him his 50th cap and his first appearance in a competitive international since September 2010.

Liverpool's Glen Johnson got the nod to start at right-back ahead of Tottenham's Kyle Walker, while Joleon Lescott and John Terry were paired together in central defence.

Everton's Leighton Baines made his first competitive England start at left-back in the absence of the injured Ashley Cole.

Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard were in central midfield and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner took the wide roles.

Source: AFP