NO MIN­NOWS FOR ENG­LAND

Ice­land les­son makes Dier wary of Lithua­nia threat

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LON­DON to do what we didn’t.”

He added: “We have to be con­fi­dent go­ing into it, try to play quick, at­tack­ing foot­ball and hope­fully they won’t be able to han­dle that.”

Hav­ing tested a 3-4-2-1 sys­tem in Wed­nes­day’s 1-0 loss to Ger­many, South­gate may de­cide to re­vert to the back four he used in the three qual­i­fiers he over­saw at the end of last year.

With Chelsea’s Gary Cahill sus­pended and Manch­ester United pair Chris Smalling and Phil Jones hav­ing with­drawn due to in­jury, John Stones will ex­pect to re­gain his place at cen­tre-back.

The Manch­ester City de­fender started on the bench in Dort­mund, where Burn­ley’s Michael Keane made an ac­com­plished de­but.

Un­capped Mid­dles­brough de­fender Ben Gib­son has been drafted into the squad to pro­vide cover at cen­tre-back.

Manch­ester United’s Mar­cus Rash­ford is also push­ing for a start­ing berth, while Jer­main De­foe will hope to fea­ture af­ter re­turn­ing to the squad fol­low­ing an ab­sence of nearly four years.

Lithua­nia made a steady start to qual­i­fy­ing, draw­ing with Slove­nia and Scot­land be­fore beat­ing Malta 2-0, but were then given a rude awak­en­ing by a 4-0 de­feat in Slo­vakia.

Edgaras Jankauskas’s side, who are with­out an away win in six com­pet­i­tive games, sit fourth in the group, five points be­low Eng­land and three points off the play-off place.

The Lithua­nia man­ager, whose side were beaten 3-0 by the Czech Re­pub­lic in a friendly on Wed­nes­day, said his team will draw en­cour­age­ment from Eng­land’s de­feat by Ice­land.

“World-class play­ers should not be af­fected by pres­sure,” Jankauskas told The Times news­pa­per.

“When you are priv­i­leged to play ev­ery week in great sta­di­ums and the best league in the world, then you should get used to the pres­sure and you have to cope with the pres­sure.

“It is your job week in, week out. In the Eu­ros we saw that on the day Eng­land were not ready. I have to­tal faith in my play­ers.”

Fol­low­ing Wed­nes­day’s ter­ror at­tack in Lon­don, which left four peo­ple dead and over 50 in­jured, Bri­tish po­lice have pledged to boost se­cu­rity for to­day’s game.

“In collaboration with the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and Met Po­lice there will be an en­hanced se­cu­rity op­er­a­tion for Eng­land v Lithua­nia on Sun­day, to en­sure a safe and se­cure en­vi­ron­ment,” said an Eng­land FA spokesper­son.

There will be armed pa­trols around the sta­dium, while Eng­land’s play­ers will wear black arm­bands and there will be a minute’s si­lence prior to kick-off.

The match pro­grammes will also con­tain a trib­ute to for­mer Eng­land man­ager Gra­ham Tay­lor, who died in Jan­uary at the age of 72. AFP

Eng­land’s Eric Dier (left) is chal­lenged by Ger­many’s Lukas Podol­ski in their in­ter­na­tional friendly in Dort­mund on Wed­nes­day.

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