Cole left out, Baines in
Ashley Cole was left out of the England starting line-up as the Three Lions looked to dismiss San Marino with the minimum of fuss at Wembley.
A day after accepting a misconduct charge over his four-letter rant at the FA on Twitter, Cole's place at left-back on Friday night went to Leighton Baines.
As Hodgson had been given a green light to select Cole for this evening's game, the decision was presumably to protect the Chelsea man's delicate ankle ahead of what is expected to be a far more testing game against Poland on Tuesday.
In total, Hodgson made six changes to his starting line-up, with none of his trio of players on yellow cards risked.
Wayne Rooney was named as skipper for the first time in a competitive game, needing two goals to overtake Nat Lofthouse, Tom Finney and Alan Shearer to become England's fifth highest goalscorer.
Kyle Walker started his first qualifier at right-back, with Gary Cahill partnering Phil Jagielka in central defence.
Michael Carrick also started his first competitive game since 2009.
England were not expected to have any problems against a San Marino team officially rated as the joint worst in the world.
They have won only one match, and have conceded 131 times since they last scored away from home, a 2-2 draw with Liechtenstein in 2003.
England XI to play San Marino at Wembley: Hart; Walker, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines; Walcott, Carrick, Cleverley, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Rooney (c); Welbeck.