MX23RW : Tuesday, September 18 23:48:20

Roy Hodgson confident in defensive depth

Hodgson confident in defensive depth
© PA Photos
England manager Roy Hodgson insists that Joleon Lescott and Chris Smalling are capable of coping with Montenegro's dangerous strike force.

Roy Hodgson has insisted that England's injury-blighted defence is capable of containing the threat of Montenegro strike duo Mirko Vucinic and Stefan Jovetic.

With Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill sidelined, the Three Lions manager is likely to pair Chris Smalling and Joleon Lescott at centre-back for the crucial World Cup qualifier in Podgorica on Tuesday.

Lescott was initially omitted from the squad, while Smalling only has five international caps, but Hodgson has reiterated his faith in England's stand-in defensive lineup.

He said: "I just remind people that Joleon Lescott helped Manchester City to their first title in 40-odd years, and in Chris Smalling we have someone who's playing regularly for the champions-elect.

"It's not as if we've been forced to pick people who don't play at the highest level and I personally trust the pair of them."

Juventus forward Vucinic is Montenegro's all-time leading scorer and Jovetic has netted 12 goals for Fiorentina this season.

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