Roy Hodgson hailed the match-winning impact of Andros Townsend after the winger’s outstanding debut left England requiring a victory over Poland on Tuesday to qualify for next summer’s World Cup.
Townsend starred in the 4-1 win over Montenegro at Wembley on Friday as he helped set up Wayne Rooney’s opener before scoring a superb strike himself - England’s third goal of the night - to leave the Three Lions top of Group H with one game to play.
"He made a big impact," said Hodgson in his post-match press conferece. "He got the man-of-the-match [award] and fully deserves the praise that will come his way.
"It can’t be easy making your debut in a game of that nature but he played very well. He played with a calmness and coolness that I’ve seen at QPR and Tottenham."
Hodgson struck a note of caution ahead of the must-win Wembley clash against Poland but the 66-year-old was in bullish mood as he backed his players to finish the job.
"I always back the players, I trust the players," Hodgson added. "We are unbeaten in nine games and with the backing we got from the fans at Wembley, I’ve got to back them. I’d be foolish not to.
"We know the job is half done. If we want to qualify direct we have to win against Poland on Tuesday night. That won’t be easy - it will be a tough game."
England face Poland at Wembley one point ahead of second-placed Ukraine, who will face San Marino in their last qualifying match.