England World Cup auditions: Rooney and Wilshere to play

Lampard will captain England as reserves get run out, but two big guns must show what they can do

Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere of England

England face Ecuador this evening in their penultimate warm-up match before the World Cup opener against Italy on Saturday week.

Having eased past Peru on Friday, beating them 3-0 at Wembley, manager Roy Hodgson will be hoping for more of the same when the Three Lions play Ecuador in Miami's Sun Life Stadium.

Veteran midfielder Frank Lampard will captain England, providing him with a welcome opportunity to focus his energies on the field after he confirmed on Monday that his 13-year Chelsea career is over. Where he will play his football next season is a question for the future, and when Lampard faced the press on Tuesday he had only one thing on his mind. "I'm here now to concentrate on being with England... I'm proud to be captain tomorrow and looking forward to the game," declared Lampard, who will be winning his 104th international cap.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

England arrived in Miami on Sunday but their scheduled training session at the Sun Life Stadium on Monday was cancelled after a torrential downpour. The squad did get a run on Tuesday and Lampard subsequently expressed his satisfaction at how the squad was shaping up ahead of the World Cup. "I'm really impressed with what Roy and his staff have done," explained Lampard. "They've tried to cover every base, which gives us no excuses. We all have to adapt but I do feel the acclimatisation helps. Italy have to get used to the conditions too.

Hodgson is expected to field a side markedly different to the one that beat Peru, with Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Manchester United's Phil Jones among those certain to feature. Oxlade-Chamberlain's club teammate Jack Wilshere will also get the chance to show what he can do, and there's another outing for Wayne Rooney as Hodgson looks to play the Manchester United striker back into form. "The thinking behind Wayne starting a second game is he only played 60 minutes the other day," explained the England coach. "He didn't play too many games [for United at the end of the season] before he joined us. We think he's recovering his match fitness and we think starting the game and playing a part will be to his advantage."

Meanwhiile Everton full-back Leighton Baines is still nursing a groin strain and his place is likely to be taken by 18-year-old Southampton defender Luke Shaw, who sat out the game against Peru with a cold.

Thought Baines is expected to be fit for the World Cup, the spectre of a last minute injury is something that Lampard admits haunts all the squad. "We're all aware of the injury issue but as players, do you try to stay away from being injured - and maybe get injured in the process - or do you play positively as you normally do?," said the veteran. "We're careful in training, even though we train very hard, but come the matches, we'll just try and play well individually and as a team and fingers crossed we're all fit and on the plane."

England vs Ecuador, Kick-off 8pm BST. Live on ITV

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Bill Mann is a football correspondent for The Week.co.uk, scouring the world's football press daily for the popular Transfer Talk column.