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TEAM NEWS: Cleverley makes competitive England debut as Hodgson starts Defoe up front

TEAM NEWS: Cleverley makes competitive England debut as Hodgson starts Defoe up front

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The Manchester United midfielder has featured just once for the Three Lions before, in a 2-1 friendly win over Italy in August, but is set to face Moldova on Friday evening

Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley has been handed his first competitive start for England ahead of Friday evening's World Cup qualifier against Moldova.

The 23-year-old earned his first cap during a 2-1 friendly win over Italy in August but has impressed enough to retain his place in the starting line-up.

He features in an advanced role, flanked by Arsenal youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Manchester City midfielder James Milner whilst Jermain Defoe gets his 50th cap in a lone striking role.

Veteran midfield duo Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard have been tasked with holding things together in the middle once more whilst Leighton Baines gets the nod at left-back in Ashley Cole's absence.

The rest of the backline is a familiar one with Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott and John Terry featuring, as Joe Hart takes his place between the sticks.

England starting XI: Joe Hart; Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, John Terry, Leighton Baines; Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard; James Milner, Tom Cleverley, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain; Jermain Defoe.

Subs: Kyle Walker, John Ruddy, Ryan Bertrand, Gary Cahill, Michael Carrick, Phil Jagielka, Theo Walcott, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Jack Butland.

Moldova starting XI: Namasco; Armas, Golovatenco, Epureanu, Kovalchuk; Bulgaru, Onica, Gatcan, Suvorov; Patras, Picusciac

Subs: Pascenco, Negai, Racu, Bordiyan, Cebotaru, Sidorenco, Pascenco, Ivanov, Ovseanicov, Doros, Dedov, Alexeev


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