England manager Roy Hodgson hails Tom Cleverley's influence

Roy Hodgson hailed Tom Cleverley's influence as a new-look midfield guided England to an emphatic win over Moldova in their opening World Cup qualifier.

The Manchester United man, 23, won his second England cap in the 5-0 win.

England manager Hodgson decided to start with Cleverley instead of United team-mate Michael Carrick.

"Cleverley was excellent for 90 minutes and when you watch him, you understand why Sir Alex Ferguson is pleased with him," Hodgson said.

The England manager gave Cleverley an advanced midfield role in front of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in a set-up that allowed all three to get forward.

He added: "Tom's come into a team alongside the likes of Lampard, Gerrard and Carrick and didn't look at all out of place."

Hodgson has reshaped his midfield in the absence of Tottenham's Scott Parker, who is recovering from Achilles surgery, and Manchester City's Gareth Barry, yet to return after suffering a groin injury on international duty in May.external-link

Lampard, who scored twice in Chisinau, said: "Tom is a pleasure to play with - and with him being at such a young age, he's going to be right in the middle of the team for years to come."

Hodgson was also happy with the performance of 19-year-old winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who played for almost an hour before he was replaced by Arsenal team-mate Theo Walcott.

"Alex had an excellent first half," the England manager added. "He hasn't played much football, and I think even at half-time, he was tired, and we were worried about leaving him on for too long, because his 15 minutes in the second half weren't as good as his 45 in the first."

Lampard added: "Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was brilliant. He lit up the first half and it's great to see players like that coming through."

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