LONDON: Jordan Henderson will lead England out for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Slovakia at Wembley on tonight, where manager Gareth Southgate wants his players to bring the crowd to their feet.
Liverpool midfielder Henderson led the team in Malta on Friday, where a 4-0 victory margin flattered an England side whose disappointing performance was booed by some travelling fans.
Three points would take Southgate’s team five points clear of Slovakia with two games to play, and he is hoping to see a vibrant England display.
He said there was “no point in changing” the captaincy, even though he has yet to appoint a full-time skipper following Wayne Rooney’s international retirement, so Henderson keeps the armband.
Joe Hart will also retain his place in goal, with the only likely change to England’s starting XI the return of Eric Dier after suspension.
Southgate said: “The core of the team is pretty much established and I don’t think that would surprise too many people, really. Joe will stay as the goalkeeper and Eric is obviously an option we have.
“He’s played in most of the games for us and he’s playing well with his club, so, yeah, that’s a possible change for us.
“It’s a great opportunity for us, a home game. We are playing good opposition so we’ve got to make sure we are tactically prepared, which we will be, but also we’ve got to have belief in the team that we’ve got.
“We’ve got some exciting players and we want to show that. We know the task we have; we know the opportunity. The whole country wants to be at a World Cup. It’s a great opportunity for the Wembley crowd to get behind us as well.
“We have a responsibility to get them on their feet. But equally everywhere we go around the world, the opposition crowds really give the team a lift.
“This result can virtually get us to Russia so everybody wants that and it would be great if we get the level of support that I know that stadium can bring.”