• England

Hodgson 'agonised' over selecting Townsend

ESPN staff
October 12, 2013
Andros Townsend netted England's third goal © PA Photos

Andros Townsend earned praise from England manager Roy Hodgson after making a goal-scoring debut in Friday's 4-1 win over Montenegro at Wembley.

Townsend provided the assist for Wayne Rooney's opener and added a goal of his own to give England a 3-1 lead late in the match.

A win against Poland on Tuesday would seal World Cup qualification for the Three Lions, and Hodgson was pleased his decision to select Townsend over more experienced players paid dividends.

"Well, we agonised over it, I must say," Hodgson told ITV1. "We had plenty of discussions and argued things back and forth because on this occasion we did have so many players we could choose from. To leave people like Jack [Wilshere] and James Milner out of an important game like this with their talent and experience was not an easy decision.

"But, of course, we're glad it worked out well for us. I thought Andros, who got the man-of-the-match award, must be delighted with his evening's work. Sometimes you are lucky in those things - you envisage something and it comes off, but it doesn't always work out that way."

England went into the break with pressure heaped on them as the score was locked at 0-0 and news filtered through that Ukraine had taken the lead in Group H with a 1-0 win over Poland.

Although Hodgson denied Ukraine's result provided motivation for his side, he admitted England found it difficult to break through the Montenegro defence in the first half.

"Even in the first half, I thought we were very dominant," he said. "It wasn't easy to find a way past a well-drilled and well-organised Montenegro team, but we thought if we could just up the tempo a little bit around the penalty area and keep making those incisive runs in and around the penalty area that the goal chances would come.

"Luckily they did and we scored. The 2-1 was a bit of a cold shower for us because we had about three chances to go 3-0 up, and when they scored to make it 2-1 we were a bit concerned. But luckily Townsend stepped in and got a great goal for us."

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