Roy Hodgson has just three strikers in his England squad to face Moldova and Ukraine, after Andy Carroll was ruled out with a hamstring injury. The Independent reports.
Carroll produced an impressive debut performance for West Ham in their 3-0 win over Fulham, but had to limp off the pitch after 60 minutes.
It has been a frustrating time for English strikers, with none seeming to hit the heights which Hodgson would like going into another qualification campaign.
Wayne Rooney had been struggling for form for some time before being dropped from the Manchester United starting line-up and could now be laid off for 2 months.
Meanwhile, Danny Welbeck’s starting place is under threat by the arrival of Robin van Persie, while Daniel Sturridge cannot force his way into the thinking of Roberto Di Matteo and ahead of Fernando Torres.
Darren Bent and Peter Crouch were both hoping for recalls to the side, with both players having respectable international records, especially Crouch who has scored 22 goals in 42 caps.
But Hodgson has decided to stick with a forward line of Sturridge, Welbeck and Defoe for the upcoming qualifiers and it seems that the absence of Rooney remains his biggest grievance.
“We can’t deny our major attacking focus and hope was Rooney, who could only play the last couple of games in the Euros and whom we were counting on to be a major factor in our qualifying campaign from the first moment”, he said.
In reality, England should be able to cope with Rooney’s absence against a team ranked 137th in the world, but Hodgson admits he is wary of complacency especially as Moldova impressively held World Cup finalists, Holland to a draw in the last qualifying campaign.
“We have to come to terms with what the stadium is going to be like, what’s the atmosphere going to be like, what’s the pitch going to be like – and how good are these players –and relate that to the players we choose and make sure they go into the game with the best possible preparation.
“If we are not aware of the fact that this is a major hurdle of the 10 hurdles we have to jump over then we would be very, very foolish.”