Cyprus Mail

Sturridge back for England as Milner is named captain

England's James Milner during the press conference

By Tony Jimenez

Daniel Sturridge is to play his first international for 18 months while James Milner will captain England from the start of a game for the first time when the Euro 2016 finalists host Netherlands at Wembley on Tuesday.

Liverpool goal poacher Sturridge has been plagued by injuries since winning the last of his 16 caps against Norway in September 2014.

“We’re pleased to welcome him back after his long layoff from England duty,” manager Roy Hodgson told a news conference on Monday.

Experienced midfielder Milner, who will lead the side in the continuing absence of injury victim Wayne Rooney, said Liverpool team mate Sturridge had worked hard to get back.

“No one doubts his quality,” said Milner. “Goals win you tournaments.”

Hodgson is expected to make several alterations to the side that rallied from 2-0 down to beat world champions Germany 3-2 in Berlin on Saturday.

“There will be some changes. How wholesale those changes will be, you’ll have to wait and see,” he said.

England delighted their supporters with victory against Germany but Hodgson is refusing to let his young squad rest on their laurels.

“We should be rightly proud of it but that moment of satisfaction has now passed,” said the manager.


“Our heads are concentrated on the task ahead. The feel-good factor is always short-lived for me and the players.”

Milner, who will win his 58th cap on Tuesday, takes over as skipper from Chelsea defender Gary Cahill who captained the team against Germany.

“To get the chance to lead out your country is a massive honour and something you’ll never forget,” said the Liverpool player.

Milner echoed Hodgson’s words by urging his team mates to focus on the task ahead against Netherlands who have failed to qualify for the European Championship in France in June.

“It’s exciting to see the amount of young talent coming through but we don’t want to get carried away,” he said.

“If we don’t perform tomorrow night everyone will forget about Saturday and that momentum will be lost.”

The only sour note against Germany was the fractured ankle sustained by Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland that could keep him out of the European Championship.

Hodgson called the injury “a devastating blow” but said Butland had told him he would “come back stronger”.

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