Hodgson confirms Milner defensive switch

James Milner will start England's FIFA World Cup friendly against Ecuador on Wednesday at right-back, manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed.

The Manchester City man is regularly used in midfield but Hodgson will look to experiment against Ecuador in Miami.

Hodgson, who will also hand starting berths to goalkeeper Ben Foster, midfielder Frank Lampard and forward Wayne Rooney, said he was a fan of Milner's versatility and was eager to offer him experience of playing in the back four. 

The 28-year-old will win his 47th cap in place of Glen Johnson but Hodgson warned not to read too much into the decision. 

"He is going to play right-back because I think he has got the qualities to play there and at the World Cup there may be moments where we would like to use him there," Hodgson said.

"The chance to use him tomorrow and give him some experience there is perfect as far as I am concerned.

"He is in the squad as a midfield player and that is where we see him mostly, but thanks to his ability to do other jobs we think it will be interesting to see how he gets on a right-back.

"There might be times in the game or in the World Cup adventure where Glen Johnson, who played on Friday, gets injured and a good alternative might be James Milner."

Hodgson is also pleased to give Rooney another opportunity to gain match practice after struggling with injuries during the latter stages of the Premier League season. 

"It is quite simple. He only played 60 minutes the other day, he didn't play many games before he came to join us," he explained.

"We think that he is recovering his match fitness and we think that starting the game and playing a part will be to his advantage.

"We will see how long he will play and that will be based on how we think his fitness is progressing.

"Wayne can play in several positions and he will play in the position which we think will suit the team and which he is capable of playing.

"I think Wayne is a very useful player in the sense you don’t have to pin him down and say this is his only position he can play. We have seen him play centre forward, play behind the centre forward and we have seen him play wide.

"So if he has done all of those things at the very top level for Manchester United there is no reason I can't use him in those positions as well."


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