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Milner benefits from Welbeck blow

07 Sep 2013 15:46:55

Milner benefits from Welbeck blow

He may not get fans on the edge of their seats but Roy Hodgson is acutely aware James Milner could be the ideal man to give England a hefty shove towards the World Cup.

Danny Welbeck's absence from Tuesday's potentially pivotal trip to Ukraine has created a vacancy in Hodgson's side.

After his 20-minute cameo in Friday night's 4-0 win over Moldova at Wembley, it appears Milner is in the frame to act as stand-in.

He might not have the physical attributes of Welbeck, nor the acceleration and dribbling skills of Theo Walcott, but on an evening when durability and hard work are likely to be key elements of a positive England performance, there is no-one more suited to the role.

"We know what James will do," said Hodgson. "He isn't, and doesn't pretend to be, as exciting as some of the wingers we sometimes use these days.

"After a long period of time where I've not seen many wingers in the country, I'm now seeing lots of them.

"But we are going to need experience in Kiev. Milner is not a winger, but the qualities he brings could be very useful."

If there is a complaint about the 27-year-old it is that he does not score enough goals for England. Milner was winning his 40th cap on Friday night and has found the net just once.

He wasted an excellent opportunity to double his tally in the dying minutes of the Moldova encounter and Hodgson can only hope if a similar chance arises in Kiev, it will be taken.

From the moment Ukraine left Wembley with a point 12 months ago, Hodgson sensed England would require something similar from Kiev.


PA

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