Roy Hodgson played his strongest side at the Stadium of Light on Sunday safe in the knowledge that Fulham wouldn’t have another game until Saturday’s FA Cup quarter final against Tottenham. What the Fulham manager won’t want are any injuries to his international contingent in action over the next few days:
Birthday boy Damien Duff will definitely play some part in the Republic of Ireland’s friendly against Brazil tonight. Stephen Kelly should be involved as well. The good news about this is two-fold: first, there’s no adverse travel involved – the game is at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and, secondly, Hodgson can watch it all on ITV1 like the rest of us if he’s so inclined.
As well as a busy programme of full international action, there are a number of under-21 games as qualifying continues for the European Championships. Chris Smalling was named in the England squad to face Greece in Doncaster tomorrow whilst on-loan striker Stefano Okaka should play for Italy against Hungary.
Simon Davies could make his first appearance for Wales in a long time as John Toshack’s side play Sweden in Swansea. Brede Hangeland and Bjorn Helge Riise are in Norway’s squad for their friendly in Slovakia whilst Andranik has travelled to Thailand for Iran for a Continental Cup qualifier.
Youngsters Wesley Foderingham and Matthew Briggs could be involved for England Under-19s against the Dutch in Waalwijk.