Hodgson hails importance of Gerrard
England manager Roy Hodgson wishes he had a few more Steven Gerrards to call upon in Kiev on Tuesday night.
Hodgson's men head to Ukraine knowing victory would blast open the door to automatic World Cup qualification.
However, defeat will take England to the edge of an abyss, handing not just the initiative to their opponents with only two games left but offering Montenegro a chance to leapfrog them into a play-off spot.
It is not the most comfortable position to be in, particularly when your squad has been shorn of forwards, but Hodgson takes solace in Gerrard's man-of-the-match display in Friday night's 4-0 win over Moldova.
He just wishes he had a few more like him.
"It will be a night for big performances," said Hodgson. "When I look at the quality of Gerrard's against Moldova, if we can get half a dozen playing at that level it will take a good team to beat us.
"It is not always I am 100 per cent in agreement when a man-of-the-match award is announced but I was this time."
Although Hodgson has the option to make changes; Michael Carrick could come in for Frank Lampard and Jermain Defoe's outstanding performance in training on Thursday makes him a viable alternative to Rickie Lambert, it is hard to see beyond England retaining the same starting line-up, with James Milner replacing suspended Manchester United man Danny Welbeck.
It would propel Lambert into the biggest game of his life.
Not that it would faze the Southampton man, who, at 31, has become the first player in 37 years to score in his first two appearances for England.
Even better, a player who spent most of his career in the lower leagues - he was an unused substitute at Stockport 10 years ago on Friday - has shown no sign of being overawed by sharing a dressing room with so many high-profile stars.
"Rickie is a very mature person who has seen all that football has to offer," said Hodgson. "He has also seen if you are not in football, what life has to offer is maybe not as good comparably.
"The most important thing for Rickie is to feel confident, has the confidence of the coach and the coaching staff and to feel the players have confidence in him.
"You don't see anyone not wanting to give him the ball. I have not seen any sign of him not being very well integrated."
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