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SPOILT FOR MIDFIELD CHOICE

Posted on 8 June 2006  - 12:00

Danny Murphy believes England possess plenty in the way of midfield options heading into the World Cup.

Danny Murphy believes England possess plenty in the way of midfield options heading into the World Cup.

The January arrival at the Lane suspects coach Sven Goran Eriksson made sure he had a lot of cover in the central areas in order to possibly compensate for the then suspected absence of Wayne Rooney, were he not to have made the cut following his injury scare.

Nine midfielders were named by the coach, with wingers in the shape of Aaron Lennon and Stewart Downing, along with the likes of Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole - considered to have the ability to drop in behind a striker. The other middlemen in the group are our own Michael Carrick and Jermaine Jenas, plus captain David Beckham, Frank Lampard and Owen Hargreaves.

On England's chances, Danny admitted he would not have been quite so confident without the Manchester United striker who has been dominating the news.

"I think you have to be honest and say they would have been less if Rooney wasn't to feature," he said. "I don't think anyone in the game would say we are as good without him as with him.

"He is a fantastic player, but we have got strength in depth. I've got a feeling he will adapt the system a little bit because he has taken wingers and a strong midfield group.

"With the abundance of midfielders he has picked, I think he might play five at some point and look to bomb on from there with the likes of Gerrard and Lampard. Gerrard getting forward with a bit more free licence can only offer more confidence in terms of scoring goals.

"There are options there, but it will be more difficult until Wayne is ready."