England manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed three of his starters against San Marino ahead of the Three Lions’ Group E qualifier in Serravalle on Saturday


Three relatively inexperienced England internationals John Stones, Jonjo Shelvey and Jamie Vardy are expected to start against Group E minnows San Marino on Saturday, while Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney is likely to be handed the opportunity to become the the country’s record goalscorer.

Stones, Shelvey and Vardy to start against San Marino

England coach Roy Hodgson refused to name his complete starting XI for the Group E qualifier against San Marino, but did confirm three of his starters in his pre-match press-conference ahead of the game.

Hodgson is quoted by Sky Sports . as saying: “I can say that Jonjo Shelvey will start the game, as will John Stones and Jamie Vardy. I am not prepared to fill in the blanks.”

The former Liverpool FC manager also confirmed that there were no injuries in his side and that he had a full squad of players to choose from for Saturday’s game. One player who is also likely to start is captain Wayne Rooney, who has the opportunity to become the Three Lions’ highest ever goalscorer.

Rooney on the brink of breaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s England record

The Manchester United captain is currently on 48 goals for his country, one shy of Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time record of 49. The game against San Marino on Saturday might present Rooney with the perfect opportunity to get those two goals and complete a half-century of goals for the Three Lions, whilst also breaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time goals record.

Speaking ahead of the qualifier against San Marino, the England captain was fairly circumspect, expressing pride at his record but insisting that he would prefer to achieve something with the country as Sir Bobby Charlton did.

Rooney is quoted by BBC Sport as saying: “Up to a couple of years ago, people were saying Lionel Messi wasn’t as good as Diego Maradona because he hadn’t won the World Cup.

“In my mind, Messi is a better player than Maradona – but that’s how football is. It’s about the trophies you win. As a team, that’s how you’re judged. Sir Bobby did that. Hopefully there’s still time for me to be successful like that.”

The 2016 European Championships might just be the former Evertonian’s final opportunity to win a major tournament with the Three Lions, given he will be 32 when the FIFA World Cup in Russia takes place and will face significant competition from the burgeoning young talent the Three Lions have in the striking department — including the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Harry Kane, Saido Berahino and possibly even James Wilson and Dominic Solanke who currently represent the England U21s and U19s respectively.