London: In-form striker Danny Welbeck has a golden opportunity to underline his England credentials in the Euro 2016 qualifiers against San Marino and Estonia, manager Roy Hodgson said on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old forward has made an excellent start to his Arsenal career and with Daniel Sturridge missing out for England due to injury Welbeck will lead the line alongside his former Manchester United team mate Wayne Rooney.
"I`m pleased for Danny. It`s great now that he`s made his move and he`s taken that chance," Hodgson told a news conference on the eve of the San Marino game at Wembley.
"He`s a player I have always followed very closely and with Daniel Sturridge injured he will get his chance."
Rooney knows all about Welbeck`s attributes.
"Daniel is a fantastic footballer and sometimes he doesn`t get the credit he deserves," Rooney said.
"As a footballer he is very intelligent and obviously he`s very quick and athletic. For me he is a top top player.
Hodgson has a fully fit squad to select from after Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph returned to training.
"It`s we important we take the game very very seriously," Hodgson said. "Everyone is quite anxious to play."
Following their first-round exit in this year`s World Cup in Brazil, England opened their Euro qualifying campaign with an impressive 2-0 Group E win in Switzerland, Welbeck scoring both goals.
"I am not planning wholesale changes," Hodgson said. "We are keen to keep the momentum going.
"The players have looked very sharp and focused in training," he added.
"It`s all about performance and making sure we don`t slip below our standards. It might be a goal feast but these games can be very difficult."
England have scored 26 goals in four matches against San Marino and conceded just one, Davide Gualtieri`s infamous strike just 8.3 seconds into a World Cup qualifier in Bologna in 1993.
Rooney will be demanding better concentration on Thursday, though the last two meetings in qualifying for this year`s World Cup brought crushing England wins, 5-0 and 8-0.
"I am enjoying the role of captain and the responsibility and in terms of results it is going very well," said Rooney, who will be hoping to overtake Jimmy Greaves in third place on England`s all-time scoring list.
"It`s always nice to score goals but the most important thing is the performance and winning the game."
Rooney, 28, has scored 41 goals in 97 internationals, three behind Greaves and eight short of Bobby Charlton`s record 49.