Striker Rickie Lambert will make his first England start in Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Moldova, manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed.
Lambert came off the bench to score the winning goal against Scotland on debut last month.
Now, with Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge both injured, the 31-year-old will get his first start at international level on Friday night when England host Moldova at Wembley.
Lambert was joint-top English scorer in the Premier League last season after scoring 15 goals.
He has maintained that form so far this season, following up his debut header against the Scots with a strike for Southampton against West Brom.
“I have picked the team and Rickie Lambert will start, yes,” Hodgson said in an interview with radio reporters.
“He deserves a chance. I can’t deny had Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge had been available, it would have been harder for him to get a starting place but I am more than happy to have a player of his calibre to start this game.”
Hodgson all but named the starting XI for the qualifier against Moldova.
Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka and either Ashley Cole or Leighton Baines are expected to start in front of Joe Hart while Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Jack Wilshere will definitely play in midfield.
Hodgson confirmed that Arsenal’s Theo Walcott and Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck will provide Lambert with assistance from the flanks.