Roy Hodgson will hand the captain’s armband to Liverpool’s James Milner for the first time when England take on the Netherlands at Wembley tonight.
Hodgson revealed changes to his line-up would be limited and not wholesale as he had hinted prior to Saturday night’s 3-2 win in Germany, but confirmed Milner, 30, will be one of them and that fellow midfielder Danny Drinkwater will also make his debut.
Milner will lead his country in his 58th appearance for England and Hodgson said he is the right fit for the current side.
“As far as I’m concerned we’ve always known that James is a very good midfield player in central areas, capable of playing wide but also central areas,” said the manager. “The way we’re trying to play at the moment and the way that Liverpool play, that’s right up his street.
“That’s the type of football he plays and it’s great he’s got the opportunity tomorrow to play in a position he’s very comfortable in – but also to do it as captain of his country.”
Meanwhile, Daniel Sturridge is in line for his first England cap in 573 days – with Hodgson looking forward to welcoming the Liverpool striker back into the international fold.
A number of injuries have kept the 26-year-old away from England duty since he was capped in the 1-0 friendly win over Norway on 3 September, 2014.
But he is now back in the Liverpool side and scored a well-taken goal in their 3-2 defeat at Southampton ahead of the international break.
Sturridge was an unused substitute in Berlin on Saturday night, but Hodgson has confirmed he will start at Wembley, along with a number of others who were not in the line-up in Berlin.
“I hinted a lot of things and sometimes I regret some of the hints I put out there,” said Hodgson.
“There will be some changes, how wholesale those will be you’ll have to wait and see.
“A guy like Daniel Sturridge will come into the team on this occasion, we’re pleased to welcome him back after his long lay-off at least from England duty.
“The other changes, we’ll have to wait and see and I’d prefer not to dwell on that side of things.”
Hodgson has been impressed by what he has seen from Sturridge in training, with Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck also now tasked with returning to peak fitness after retuning from his own ten-month lay-off.
“He (Sturridge) and Danny Welbeck have returned from such long-term injuries, the next six weeks or so are important times for them as well,” he said.
“They have to build up their fitness in terms of endurance, both have come back sharp so that is very positive.
“It is great that we are going to give Daniel a chance to show what he can do in an England shirt. He has always been keen to get back and show he deserves to be in the shirt and what better chance than a game at Wembley against a team like Holland.”
Danny Drinkwater may be handed his debut from the start having watched the Germany win from the dugout, with his Leicester team-mate Jamie Vardy also in line to begin the game against the Dutch.
Vardy and Harry Kane, who scored England’s first two goals in their win in Germany, have proved they can cut it at international level in recent games.
But once again Hodgson defended the position of his captain, Wayne Rooney, who he said after the victory at the Olympiastadion would not be jettisoned because he is currently sidelined with a knee injury.
He said the Manchester United striker was not conceited enough to think his place in the side was a shoo-in purely because he is captain.
“I think that I have spoken enough about Wayne Rooney and I don’t have anything to add to what I have said before,” he said.
“He is the captain of the team. Before he got injured, no-one was disputing his right to be captain. As far as I know he is not making any claims that he should be always on the team-sheet and no-one else would get a chance.
“As far as I understand it, he realises that there will be other players fighting for places in the team and I would be very disappointed if a man of his quality didn’t understand that.
“I don’t want to subscribe or have an influence on anything that is being said or written but we are quite happy that there is a large body of players at the moment competing for a small number of places.”