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Steven Gerrard
"Now that I know that I'm playing I can relax"
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Ian Payne finds out about Ukraine with Alexa Sevenchenko
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Tuesday, 30 May, 2000, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Wembley return for Macca
Steve McManaman hopes to impress against Ukraine
All eyes will be on Steve McManaman when England run out against Ukraine at Wembley on Wednesday.

All the squad have trained so well, that's what makes it hard to tell them some of them are not going

England coach Kevin Keegan
Following his superb form for Real Madrid in the Champions League, coach Kevin Keegan has awarded the former Liverpool star a free-roaming role in midfield - and expects him to deliver.

"I'm going to say to him go on and do what you have done for Madrid for the last six to eight weeks," Keegan said. "Macca has earned that right."

McManaman will start his first international for nearly nine months and is one of several changes to the England side who drew 1-1 against Brazil on Saturday.

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard looks set to make his debut
Liverpool striker Michael Owen and Chelsea midfielder Dennis Wise will both be rested for Ukraine because of slight back injuries.

Robbie Fowler, a late substitute on Saturday, is set to start alongside Alan Shearer up front and Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard is also likely to win his first cap.

Arsenal skipper Tony Adams looks sure to return if his back problem has healed sufficiently, in place of Arsenal colleague Martin Keown or Tottenham's Sol Campbell who disappointed against Brazil.

Last chance to shine

Keegan will announce his squad for the Euro 2000 finals after Wednesday's match and has to leave out six players from the squad of 28 he announced earlier this month.

When you've got so many good strikers I've got available to me it's difficult

Kevin Keegan
Ray Parlour and Jamie Redknapp could well be dropped because of injury with others like Kieron Dyer, Gerrard, Nick Barmby, Gareth Barry, Rio Ferdinand, Andy Cole and David James all waiting on the decision with bated breath.

Keegan announced he had already decided which striker to leave out of the 22-man squad on Tuesday, but refused to name names.

"All the squad have trained so well, that's what makes it hard to tell them some of them are not going," he said.

"Obviously they all want to be a part of it. That's the part of it that makes it difficult.

Serhiy Rebrov could cause England problems at the back
"When you've got so many good strikers I've got available to me it's difficult. I've got to leave one out and I've made my mind up, but I've got to talk to the guy and tell him first.

"That's going to be tough because all those strikers deserve to be part of the squad."

Ukraine are regarded as the strongest side not to reach the European finals, after being surprisingly beaten by Slovenia in the play-offs.

And there will be much interest in the performance of Serhiy Rebrov, who will be playing in England with Tottenham next season.

Rebrov and his former Dynamo Kiev strike partner Andrei Shevchencko look certain to ask the England defence some searching questions.

But Keegan would like nothing better than a convincing victory before leaving for their final friendly against Malta - and the European championships themselves - on Saturday.

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See also:

30 May 00 | England
England rest Owen and Wise
30 May 00 | England
Keegan waits on Parlour scan
28 May 00 | England
For Ukraine read Dinamo Kiev
27 May 00 | England
Owen on target as England draw
27 May 00 | England
England-Brazil clockwatch
27 May 00 | England
Keegan happy with Wembley result
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