England tight-lipped on choice of strikers
SAINT-ETIENNE, France (Reuters) - England manager Roy Hodgson gave few clues on Sunday when asked about his attack for the final Group B game against Slovakia from which they need a point to qualify for the knockout stage of Euro 2016.
Harry Kane started to disappointing effect in the 1-1 draw against Russia and was then substituted at halftime against Wales with England trailing 1-0.
Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy came on to change the game, each scoring in a 2-1 win and both have been tipped to play against Slovakia on Monday.
Hodgson declined to reveal his hand but denied that Kane was feeling the effect of a long season in which he has played more than 60 games.
"I've spoken to Harry," the manager told a news conference. "He's been very, very good in training. There's no problem with him.
"Jamie and Daniel did very well when they came on and I'm sure they'd like another chance too."
What seems certain is that captain Wayne Rooney, who has been widely praised for his two performances so far as a midfielder, will stay in a deeper role, where he sees himself as creator rather than goalscorer.
"We've got players who can come on and change games, which happened in the Wales game," Hodgson said.
"We have good-quality players who can score goals and it's important to get them the chances to do that."
Hodgson wants to finish top of the group, not in order to play in Paris in the round of 16 near the squad's Chantilly base, but because it should mean less demanding opposition.
"The important thing is to be there," he said. "If it's Paris that's fine because it would see us play a third-placed team."
Earlier on Sunday, Football Association chairman Greg Dyke offered no further guarantees to Hodgson about a new contract after the tournament.
He repeated his previous suggestion that it would depend on how well England did and how they played.
"Clearly if you get to semi-finals, that's success," Dyke told the BBC.
"If we've played well and unfortunately lost against a good team or on penalties (in the quarter-finals) then that's a discussion that will go on."
Hodgson was philosophical about the latest comments.
"The day after our stay here ends, the FA will need to make a decision as to what they want to do," he said.
(Reporting by Steve Tongue; editing by Clare Fallon)