England super-subs primed to start against Slovakia

Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:08pm EDT
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By Mark Trevelyan

LYON, France (Reuters) - England coach Roy Hodgson will be strongly tempted to start with Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge in attack against Slovakia on Monday after both came off the bench to score in the 2-1 win over Wales.

Former England striker Alan Shearer, now a TV pundit, has led calls for the pair to replace Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling, neither of whom made much impression in the opening 1-1 draw with Russia nor in the first half against Wales.

Kane, the Premier League's top scorer, had barely touched the ball in the opponents' penalty area in either game.

Yet it took Vardy just 11 minutes to nab the goal that put England back on level terms, while Sturridge found a way through a crowded penalty area to snatch the winner in stoppage time.

"Yeah, I'd be more than happy with that," Vardy told reporters on Saturday when asked if he was hopeful of starting. "It's down to me on the training field to put the extra work in and hopefully dislodge one of the players if I can do."

A win against Slovakia would seal victory in group B and see England paired with one of the third-placed teams in the round of 16, giving them an excellent chance of advancing further.

A draw or loss could make things significantly harder, depending on how Wales fare against Russia.

England enjoyed the bulk of the possession in each of their first two games and Hodgson has deployed all his strikers, including teenager Marcus Rashford in the second half against Wales.   Continued...

England's Jamie Vardy during news conference.   REUTERS/Lee Smith