VIDEO: Ex-Blade Jagielka to skipper a ‘very interesting’ England side

England Manager Roy Hodgson with captain Phil Jagielka during the press conference at the Novotel Vilnius Centre

England Manager Roy Hodgson with captain Phil Jagielka during the press conference at the Novotel Vilnius Centre

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Roy Hodgson is planning a “very interesting” line-up against Lithuania as England look to go through a qualification campaign with a 100 per cent record for the first time ever.

The road to next summer’s European Championship has proven a cakewalk for the Three Lions, highlighted by the fact they were the first nation to secure their place in France.

Hodgson’s men have swatted away sides with ease and will enter the record books if they finish Group E with a win in Vilnius today.

It would be the first time England have won every match in qualifying for a major tournament, while they would become just the sixth side ever to do so on the way to the European Championship.

Hodgson’s squad players are being charged with finishing the job in Vilnius, where Jack Butland, Phil Jones and Jonjo Shelvey are set to start in a team captained by former Sheffield United defender Phil Jagielka in the absence of Wayne Rooney, Gary Cahill and Joe Hart.

“It is a big occasion,” the England manager said on the eve of the match. “I think all qualifiers are big occasions. We are looking forward to it.

Phil Jagielka with England manager Roy Hodgson. Photo: Press Association

Phil Jagielka with England manager Roy Hodgson. Photo: Press Association

“We are very fortunate in the sense that we have come through the match on Friday evening (2-0 win against Estonia) unscathed in terms of injuries.

“I think we have a very interesting team for Phil to lead out (on Monday) - a young team, obviously, but players that we believe in.

“We are very conscious of the fact that we have a perfect record and we also know it is not a given that we will win the game.

“We are playing a team that also wants to win - adept, if you like, at playing on the surface that we’ll be playing on (on Monday) evening.

“It is a tough task ahead of us but we’re ready for that I think and we will do our level best to try and achieve it.”

Few expect England to come a cropper in Monday’s dead rubber in the Baltics, with bookmakers pricing Lithuania at 10/1 to emerge victorious.

The most difficult aspect against the side ranked 116th in the world is likely to be the surroundings, given the tiny LFF Stadium has an artificial pitch.

However, Hodgson downplayed its impact having led a team at the 5,000-capacity stadium during his time in club management.

“The surroundings are of no interest whatsoever,” he said.

“I have actually been to the stadium myself because I played a game against a team called Vetra with Fulham there over six years ago.

“I know the surroundings, I know the stadium - I thought it was a very nice stadium.

“Obviously we don’t play on artificial surfaces all the time, but most of our players have some experience.

“I am not overly concerned about that. The ball will run true and we need to make sure we play the sort of football that will be necessary to win the game.”

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