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Mar 22, 2013

Hodgson hails 'professional performance'

England manager Roy Hodgson was impressed with his players' "professional performance" against San Marino as they eased to an 8-0 win in Serravalle.

Alessandro Della Valle's own goal opened the scoring before Jermain Defoe (two), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ashley Young, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge all scored to set England up nicely ahead of their meeting with Montenegro in Podgorica next week.

Hodgson told ITV1: "It couldn't have been much better could it? I thought it was a very, very good, professional performance and obviously we are a class above our opponents.

"It was good that so many players got a chance to play, those that don't always play in the team. Even at 5-0 we kept playing and doing the same thing in the second half.

"Had the player not scored the own-goal then Wayne Rooney would have scored at the end of the move. I thought we had battered them before that.

"Often when you're leading by that margin at half-time the second halves tend to die out but this one didn't.

"I thought we continued to play very good football and we were good value for our three goals in the second half.''

Left-back Leighton Baines felt the result was sealed after 45 minutes. The Everton defender said: "I thought it was a professional job and we got a goal early on which helps, then after that we got a few more and the game was won at half-time.''

Oxlade-Chamberlain staked his claim for a starting berth against Montenegro, who maintained their two-point lead in Group H by beating Moldova 1-0.

"It's nice to get on the scoresheet but the result was the main thing,'' the Arsenal winger said.

"I wanted to do well in today's game and it's down to the manager to pick the team for Montenegro. I just want to go out there and play well.''

"We had to do a professional job today and go out and get the win. We're looking forward to Tuesday's game now.''

It was too early for Hodgson to name his team for the game at Stadion Pod Goricom but there are several candidates ready to replace injured winger Theo Walcott, according to the England boss.

"I think it was one of those games where everyone brought his straw to the water,'' the former West Brom manager added. "I wouldn't like to criticise anyone.

"It was really good to see so many players, who haven't got many caps to their name, showing they deserve to be in the England squad.

"When it's their turn to play they can come up with the goods. Ashley (Young) did very, very well as did Oxlade-Chamberlain - both wide players did very well.

"We've still got Danny Welbeck, we've still got James Milner, so the choices for us are very good.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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