England Betting Special: Who will Hodgson pick to play Ukraine?

Adam Bate looks at the betting market regarding the key selection decisions the 64-year-old will face ahead of England's make-or-break Euro 2012 clash with Ukraine
The availability of Wayne Rooney leaves Roy Hodgson with some difficult decisions to make prior to England’s game against Ukraine in Donetsk.

Rooney has served his two-match suspension for a red card in Montenegro last year and that leaves the positions of Danny Welbeck and Andy Carroll under threat despite both scoring against Sweden on Friday.

While it may seem unusual to change a winning team, the England boss has two choices – recall Rooney, or think about it ... and then recall Rooney.

Carroll will feel he has done enough to retain his place, having produced a robust performance against the Swedes.

He did everything that was expected of him and more, netting with a towering header to open the scoring. Carroll is 7/5 (2.40) with Sportingbet to stay in the side.

But with Carroll offering a unique threat coming off the bench when defences drop deep late on, Welbeck would appear the obvious choice for this one.

It was the Manchester United forward who Hodgson preferred, going into the tournament, and after two impressive displays, it would be strange to withdraw that support now.

Back Welbeck to link up with hia United striker partner against Ukraine at 1/2 (1.50) with Sportingbet.

Of the other marginal choices Hodgson must make, Theo Walcott has the strongest case for a start in this one.

It was Walcott’s explosive contribution after being introduced as a substitute at 2-1 down on Friday that helped swing the contest in England’s favour.

A goal and an assist would leave the Arsenal man feeling hard done by if overlooked once more and he’s a 5/2 (3.50) shot to make the starting line-up for a match where a draw will be good enough to take England to the quarter-finals.

But the odds-against price reflects those requirements. Hodgson will not have enjoyed how open England looked against Sweden and may opt for a more cautious approach, given the demands of the situation.

That could mean that Walcott’s pace, like Carroll’s strength, will be utilised from the bench, despite playing such a pivotal role in getting England into this position.

Andy Carroll to start – 7/5 (2.40) with Sportingbet

Danny Welbeck to start – 1/2 (1.50) with Sportingbet

Theo Walcott to start – 5/2 (3.50) with Sportingbet

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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on

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