LONDON (Reuters) – England defender Phil Jagielka will lead out an “interesting” team in Lithuania on Monday when they try to finish their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with a perfect record.
Jagielka is captain for the first time with Wayne Rooney and Gary Cahill missing and is set to have goalkeeper Jack Butland, midfielder Jonjo Shelvey and striker Jamie Vardy in the lineup.
Victory for England will see them finish qualifying with an unprecedented perfect record of 10 wins and manager Roy Hodgson believes his team have a great chance to achieve that feat.
“Phil (Jagielka) will captain the team and take the place of Gary Cahill,” he told the FA website (www.thefa.com).
“We’ve let James Milner go and we’re already without Michael Carrick, who had to leave us through injury and Jack Wilshere is injured, so I mentioned Jonjo Shelvey.
“Jamie Vardy came on the other night and we are probably looking to see him, if not from the start at some stage during the game.
“We’ve been fortunate in the sense that we have come through the match on Friday evening unscathed in terms of injuries,” he added referring to the 2-0 win over Estonia at Wembley.
“We’ve a very interesting team for Phil to lead out tomorrow, a young team, but players we believe in and we’re very conscious of the fact we could have a perfect record if we win the game, but we also know that it’s not a given we will win…
Everton centre back Jagielka, 33, will captain England on his 38th appearance and hopes to mark the occasion with a win.
“It’s a great honour for me personally, but we’ve got a big task ahead of us tomorrow,” he said. “We started this campaign a while ago and the job was to try and win every single game.
“Normally you say that and not a lot of people expect you to do so, but we’ve put in some great performances along the way and it’s nice that we will have the opportunity to do so.
“We know it is going to be a difficult game with a few of the boys going (home) and a few of us getting a bit of an opportunity, whether you’ve got caps or you’ve not got too many caps under your belt, this is the opportunity you want.
“The squad is strong and it’s up to us who gets the chance tomorrow to go and prove it and put a good performance on.”
(By Ken Ferris, Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)