Paper round: Carroll set for start

The back pages are unanimous that Andy Carroll will get the nod for England in a rejigged line-up to face Sweden in tonight’s match.


Roy Hodgson looks set to make just the one change from the side which earned a 1-1 draw with France in their opening Euro 2012 fixture.

Carroll’s introduction up front will see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dropped back to the substitutes’ bench, with Ashley Young, who had played in the hole behind Welbeck on Monday, switched to the left wing.

It leaves England in a traditional 4-4-2 formation, and there is widespread optimism amongst the football reporters that this will be the moment England come alive in the tournament.

“My new England – Hodgson set to throw off the shackles and let the Lions roar” blurts the Daily Mirror.

“On the attack – England ready to unleash Carroll against Sweden” cries the Daily Telegraph.

Some papers take a slightly more realistic approach to the reports, noting that Carroll’s inclusion would be a reflection that Sweden looked uncomfortable defending in the air against Ukraine, with veteran Andrei Shevchenko scoring twice.

“Roy’s high hopes – Hodgson goes for aerial assault as Carroll is told to be a Swede basher” is the Daily Express’ angle, while the Daily Mail plump for the headline of “Power play is Roy’s ploy”.

Whatever England team Hodgson does select, will he have planned for the Daily Star’s front page lead?

“Topless babes target England aces”, the paper warns. Now England’s side have been accused of various football deficiencies of late, but if you believe the tabloids, coping with ‘topless babes’ should not prove an undue problem for the Three Lions.

“England’s footballers face a ‘sex attack’ from a bevy of topless babes during tonight’s crunch Euro 2012 clash with Sweden,” the story continues, with 300 women apparently planning to take to the pitch for a naked protest. Frankly, Paper Round will believe it when it sees it, but it did rather enjoy this quote from protest ringleader Inna Shevchenko.

“We are planning sex attacks, sex diversions, sex sabotage,” she says.

“I cannot give details.”

In France the talk is of a better showing than Laurent Blanc’s men offered against England in their opening game. “If we have big players...” reads L’Equipe’s headline, referring to Blanc’s quote: “If we have big players, we have to prove it on Friday.”

The French meet Ukraine in the other Group D game tonight, knowing that the group is likely to remain wide open going into the final games.

Elsewhere in Europe it may be misery for Ireland but Spain is happy, with Spanish daily Marca taking particular delight in the form of Fernando Torres after his brace in the 4-0 Group C victory.

“La Roja give an exhibition playing with a born striker”, they purr, having watched the world and European champions draw their opening game with Italy 1-1 without an out-and-out centre forward.

In transfer tittle-tattle there’s plenty of juicy rumours to be getting on with.

The Daily Mirror report that Manchester City will have a summer striker clearout of Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko, Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz to make way for Robin van Persie.

Internazionale are keen on a swap deal with City which would see Aleksandr Kolarov and Andrea Ranocchia change clubs, claim The Sun.

Arsenal are tipped to make a move for CSKA Moscow and Russia start Alan Dzagoev, who is out of contract in December (Daily Mail).

Sam Allardyce is tipped to sign an old Real Madrid star to West Ham United, with The Sun linking the club with a move for Guti.

And in Spurs manager speculation, David Moyes, Roberto Martinez and Andre Villas-Boas are the three names which crop up most regularly, with Moyes a clear early favourite.

The Daily Star report that the Everton boss has flown back in to the UK from his summer holiday and is holding talks with Everton owner Bill Kenwright as speculation mounts over the job.

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