England coach Roy Hodgson has admitted he may have to pay careful attention to the fitness of Scott Parker and captain Steven Gerrard as he plots a path through Euro 2012.
Parker, 31, found it tough going against France in Donetsk on Monday and eventually had to be substituted.
Gerrard lasted the entire 90 minutes but, at 32, his stamina cannot be taken for granted either.
It is something Hodgson will have in his mind as he selects a team for Friday’s Group D encounter with Sweden in Kiev.
“Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard are both over 30 and had to work really hard,” said Hodgson, as he reflected on Monday night’s 1-1 draw with France.
“But I’m sure I’m not going to be the only coach wondering about their players, ‘Can they do it every four days?’ That is what tournament football is about.
“What we’ve got to make certain of, is that if they can’t, or start to show signs of fatigue, that others are ready to go in and do exactly the same job.”
However, after praising his players for their resolute display in holding a France outfit now unbeaten in 22 games, Hodgson recognised it will not be particularly easy telling any of them they are being axed.
“I will have to assess the freshness of my team and see whether they are able to do that again,” said Hodgson.
“My gut feeling, if we have a good recovery day on Tuesday, a sensible training day on Wednesday and sensible recovery day on Thursday, is that it will be very hard for me to leave people out.”
n Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes England have the quality to “damage any team” during Euro 2012 providing they also adhere to the basics of hard work and physically matching their opponents.
Arsenal winger Oxlade-Chamberlain made his first competitive start for his country in England’s 1-1 draw with France in Donetsk in their opening match in the toournament on Sunday.
New head coach Roy Hodgson’s side put the accent on denying France space and closing them down .
But Oxlade-Chamberlain is confident England can also cause their opponents problems ahead of Friday’s meeting with Sweden in Kiev.
The 18-year-old said: “It’s been a good start for us, we can build from here, we can definitely get stronger, and we showed our quality as well in glimpses.”