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European Qualifiers Group E

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European Qualifiers Group E

Sterling and Osman start

Roy Hodgson will create a new landmark when he thrusts Leon Osman and Raheem Sterling into the England fray against Sweden in Stockholm on Wednesday evening.

Last Updated: 14/11/12 at 12:42 Post Comment

Raheem Sterling: Liverpool youngster will start for England against Sweden

Raheem Sterling: Liverpool youngster will start for England against Sweden

Osman, at 31 years and 181 days and Sterling, at just 17 years and 342 will create the biggest age gap between Three Lions debutants since World War II.

With Tottenham's Steven Caulker included in Hodgson's starting XI as well, his first international appearance since being embroiled in the atrocious scenes after the U21 clash in Serbia, suddenly a late autumn trip to Sweden has taken on greater importance.

"Steven Caulker and Raheem have been playing regularly for the Under-21s and have made that transition," said Hodgson, who has taken the unusual step of naming his starting XI. "Leon Osman is the odd one out. He has been performing regularly and well for Everton but has been passed over.

"I thought it was time to give him a chance because he has been one of the unsung heroes of a very good football club and a very good football team. He is a very energetic player. And the fact he is 31 surprises me because he plays like a much younger man.

"Let's hope that continues and I won't have to worry about his birth certificate."

If Osman is getting due recognition for his selfless contribution to the Everton cause, it is the man who hails from the other side of Stanley Park who will get all the attention, as Sterling will become England's fifth youngest international.

"In some of the Liverpool games I have seen, he has pretty much been the star player," said Hodgson, who first noticed Sterling properly when he was at Anfield and blooded the youngster in a pre-season match against Borussia Monchengladbach, at which point he was only 15.

"He is extremely dangerous with his ability to run with the ball, his pace and directness. He has even scored one or two important goals. If he can do it on a regular basis for Liverpool in the Premier League I have every right to think he can do it playing for England as well."

England team to play Sweden: Hart (Manchester City), Johnson (Liverpool), Cahill (Chelsea), Caulker (Tottenham), Baines (Everton), Gerrard (Liverpool), Cleverley (Manchester United), Osman (Everton), Sterling (Liverpool), Welbeck (Manchester United), Young (Manchester United).

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