England v Belgium preview

Team news for Saturday evening's international friendly between England and Belgium at Wembley Stadium (kick-off 5.15pm).

Last Updated: 01/06/12 at 21:11

Parker: Set to start in central midfield

Parker: Set to start in central midfield

Roy Hodgson has confirmed Scott Parker will start Saturday's friendly in central midfield alongside skipper Steven Gerrard.

In training on Friday morning it appeared an entirely new defence comprising three Chelsea players - John Terry, Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole - would be joined by Glen Johnson, with Joe Hart returning in goal.

But Hodgson has ruled Wayne Rooney, suspended for England's opening two games in Poland and Ukraine, out of a starting berth against the Belgians.

"It is in my thinking for Wayne play some part in the game," Hodgson told BBC Radio Five Live. "But my first priority is to have looked at the squad fully in order to pick a team against France.

"I am not really bothered about Wayne playing because I know what he can do for the team. I am not even that bothered if he doesn't come on because his fitness will come on with the training sessions we do. In fact it might help him.

"But it would be nice if I could find an opportunity to get him on the field."

Andy Carroll may be offered the opportunity to build on last week's encouraging display in Norway, although Danny Welbeck played a full part in the training session after his recent ankle complaint and is also in contention.

Teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also in the mix following an impressive cameo in Oslo, although it still seems doubtful he will make his first start.

"He is working well and training hard," said Hodgson. "He is a bona-fide member of the squad so he has as much chance as anyone else of getting into the team, not only for tomorrow but in the future."

Belgium defender Vincent Kompany could miss out with a calf injury.

The Manchester City skipper is keen to play at Wembley but has been hampered in his preparations for the game and does not want to take any unnecessary risks.

Marc Wilmots had been looking to partner Kompany with Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen at centre-back in a key game for Belgium as they build towards World Cup qualifying.

But Belgium caretaker manager Wilmots will allow Kompany to decide whether he is fit.

"Vincent stayed at the hotel where he worked on the rehabilitation of his calf injury," Wilmots said.

"I will have a chat with him tonight after I get back to the hotel.

"He will definitely be warming up tonight before the game and then decide afterwards whether to play him or not.

"I will give him the opportunity to make the decision himself because he it is such a special game for him.

"He is the best player in the Premier League so it is a special game for him, representing his country on this holy turf."

Wilmots is looking forward to coming up against England and will be hoping to inflict more pain upon Hodgson.

The former midfielder scored in the 1997 UEFA Cup final to help Schalke 04 defeat the Three Lions boss' Inter Milan side.

"We have lots of respect for Roy Hodgson and the English game," Wilmots said. "I have a long history with Roy Hodgson because I beat him in the UEFA Cup final when he was coach of Inter Milan.

"We won 1-0 and I scored, but I am very much looking forward to seeing him again."

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Fixtures

Wednesday, 07 May 2014
16:00
Mozambique v Iran  
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
19:45
Germany v Poland  
Saturday, 17 May 2014
19:30
Netherlands v Ecuador  
Sunday, 18 May 2014
16:00
Iran v Belarus  
Wednesday, 21 May 2014
Liechtenstein v Belarus  
18:00
Finland v Czech Rep  
Thursday, 22 May 2014
16:00
Hungary v Denmark  
Friday, 23 May 2014
Bulgaria v Canada  
Slovakia v Montenegro  
Saturday, 24 May 2014
Saudi Arabia v Moldova  

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