England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has named Manchester United striker Alan Smith and Newcastle midfielder Nicky Butt in his starting line-up Wednesday’s friendly against Ukraine.
Neitehr player was involed in Euro 2004 with Butt missing the finals through injury while Smith was not included in the final squad.
“Nicky is our best sitting midfielder. He played very well on Saturday (against Middlesbrough) and he is fit again. He is a very clever player,” Eriksson told a news conference .
“I picked Nicky Butt always when he was fit. Of course, in one way it is better that he is now at Newcastle because it seems he will play most games so that helps him be fitter and better in form.
“The midfield did well at Euro 2004 but the small problem is that all four of them want to play central and we can’t do that. So Steven (Gerrard) will start on the left and David (Beckham) on the right.”
Smith will play alongside new Real Madrid siging Michael Owen.
Ticket sales for the match at St James Park have been disappointing and Eriksson hopes that the new combination up front will encourage supporters to attend Wednesday’s friendly.
“I hope when they see the line-up they become curious and they like the line-up, there are a lot of good football players out there and I expect Ukraine will start with Andriy Shevchenko, who is one of the best strikers in Europe,” Eriksson added.
“I really don’t think they are bored of England but we are in August and it is a friendly.
“When we played here against Albania that was fantastic and there is an incredible interest in football in this part of the country.”