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Last Updated: Monday, 15 October 2007, 06:46 GMT 07:46 UK
Terry Butcher's view
Terry Butcher
By Terry Butcher
Former England captain

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney was back in the swing of things, scoring a goal and looking very lively throughout

Terry Butcher

England travel to Moscow in good heart after a comfortable win against Estonia - and I believe they can now go on and get the win that will take them to Austria and Switzerland next summer.

Steve McClaren's side were very good for the first half-hour and were able to wrap up the win inside the first half but now they must tackle the really big one against Guus Hiddink's Russian side.

If we look back on Saturday's Wembley win, I thought some real positives came out of it that bode well for the trip to Moscow.

Michael Owen did very well for 70 minutes, even though he did not score and it is remarkable he is back and ready to go a fortnight after surgery. Fellow striker Wayne Rooney was also back in the swing of things, scoring a goal and looking very lively throughout.

They will be the key to England's prospects on Wednesday and even though some have questioned their partnership, it worked really well in Euro 2004 and McClaren will be delighted to have them working in tandem again together.

The midfield battle will also be pivotal in Russia and I think McClaren has stumbled on an excellent combination of Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry. The balance of that central midfield has long been a point of discussion but I think they have found the answer in these two.

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Obviously, this means Frank Lampard would miss out again but I really think these two can do the job for England in that crucial area.

Barry has been a revelation, covering for Gerrard and integrating well with the dynamic Liverpool captain. They are both intelligent footballers and the way they dovetail looks a great fit to me.

The Aston Villa player reads the game well, calms things down and rarely loses possession, which is a vital quality at international level. He is good at dictating the tempo of the game and can also get forward.

And, crucially, he allows Gerrard to get forward, safe in the knowledge that someone is sitting in the spaces behind. They have become an integral part of McClaren's game plan, so much so I would actually say the balance of the side revolves around then.

Sol Campbell battles against Estonia
I have 100% confidence in Sol Campbell to cope with the demands of anything that comes his way, if he plays on Wednesday

Terry Butcher

The negative was the injury to Ashley Cole, ironic in that he might even have been left out of the game against Estonia to protect him from the possibility of the yellow card that would have ruled him out of facing Russia.

I would go with Reading's Nicky Shorey as his replacement if Cole fails to make it. He has shown he has the temperament for international football but I suspect McClaren will go with the experience of Everton's Phil Neville.

John Terry is also a fitness doubt but I have 100% confidence in Sol Campbell to cope with the demands of anything that comes his way if he plays on Wednesday.

I am huge fan of Sol. He is a rock and always has been, a great professional whose attitude and professionalism I really admire. He has also played well with Rio Ferdinand in the past.

He will be needed if he plays because I think Russia will be a far more dangerous side on their own soil than they were at Wembley when England won 3-0.

I felt they were toothless that night, despite some good approach work. I have a feeling they will pose more of a threat on Wednesday.

England will also have to cope with an artificial pitch in Moscow, which quite frankly I think is a disgrace. I do not think England should have to play on this surface, which will clearly give an advantage to players more accustomed to it and I think this is something Uefa must look at in the future.

These are the hurdles but I think an England team selected right and approaching the task in the right way can come away with at least a draw - and conceivably the win that will seal qualification.

  • Terry Butcher was talking to Phil McNulty



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