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In form, out of position

Filed: Tuesday, 18th November 2014
By: Staff Writer

Stewart Downing finally got his first start for England after nearly two years in the international wilderness - only to be hauled off at half time.

Downing won a place back in Roy Hodgson's squad following a string of notable performances for West Ham this season at the tip of Sam Allardyce's 442 diamond formation, playing immediately behind the strikers.

However his return to the international arena - in England's 3-1 win over Scotland at Celtic Park - was to last just 45 minutes after he was replaced by Adam Lallana at the break, having played the entire half in left midfield.

Quite why manager Hodgson decided to re-introduce the in-form Downing only to play him away from his most effective position only the 67-year-old will know, but his choice of personnel proved effective enough as England strolled past the Scots in the first meeting between the two neighbours for nearly 15 years.

England took the lead on 32 minutes when Arsenal's Oxlade-Chamberlain scored with a deft header. Minus Downing, England doubled their lead just 90 seconds after the restart through Wayne Rooney.

The hosts gave their supporters faint hopes of a comeback when Robertson scored seven minutes from time. However England - and Rooney - had other ideas and the Manchester United hitman restored England's two-goal advantage just two minutes later.

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