HODGSON: TOWNSEND NEEDS NURTURING
The Tottenham winger was a revelation during the recent World Cup qualifying wins over Montenegro and Poland, performing with a freedom at odds with the tense position England found themselves in.
It was also at odds with a career that has seen Townsend sent out on loan an incredible nine times, most recently to a QPR outfit last season that ended up being relegated from the Premier League.
Even Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas expressed caution when the 22-year-old earned his first England call-up last month.
Now Hodgson has attempted to calm the growing clamour around Townsend.
"Andros really stepped up in those two games," said Hodgson.
"The spectacular performance in the first half against Poland was quite frightening.
"The only thing that worries me is that all of a sudden, from being a player who has been loaned out nine times and whose manager said I was wrong to pick him because he was not ready to play international football, he is now a world hero in the same class as Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.
"The lad needs a break. People need to accept he is still a young man who is learning his trade at this highest level.
"I would want to protect him as best I can and I am sure his manager would say the same."
Not that Hodgson's desire for Townsend to blend into the background has been helped by the furore that has erupted over the "space monkey" comments made at half-time on Tuesday.
Hodgson has been saddened at how what was an admittedly long-winded attempt to get Chris Smalling to release Townsend quicker, has been blown into comments with racial overtones.
The 66-year-old is no racist. However, he does come from an era where comments could be made without any thought to their wider implications, rather than the forensic analysis he has been exposed to.
It is one of the reasons why England has often been dubbed an "impossible job".
"When you take it people are quickly at pains to point out it can only end in tears," said Hodgson.
"Maybe that is right. Maybe that is how you will make it for me as well.
"I never saw it that way. I saw it as a great opportunity to work with some fantastic players and a chance to achieve our goal of getting to a World Cup.
"I will go to the World Cup hoping we can do something there, knowing full well all of us will be slaughtered if we don't come home with the trophy. That is the way it is."
Hodgson will use next month's friendlies with Chile and Germany, plus an intended March date with Denmark, to assess the merits of some of his fringe men.
Meticulous planning also includes three more friendlies, including one against the United States, that will not be determined until after the finals draw on December 6.
Hodgson is reasonably pleased with the present state of affairs.
There are some aspects to the build-up he can do nothing about.
First he cannot guarantee how many games each of his players will be involved in before the end of the season.
Some may not get enough game time, others too much so they suffer most from the draining effects of a draining English campaign.
From his experience with Switzerland in 1994, Hodgson must also decide what to do with the five or six places in his 23-man squad that will go to players who will make minimal, if any, impact on the competition as a whole.
Most of all though, Hodgson must hope talisman Wayne Rooney heads into a major tournament without a cloud hanging over him, as has been the case since his explosive impact at Euro 2004.
Although the majority have been because of injury, Rooney's temperament - from his rant at England's fans in Cape Town during the last competition, to his dismissal in Montenegro that cost him the first two games of Euro 2012 - has also been questioned.
Not by Hodgson though.
"You can't keep judging people on errors they have made in the past," he said.
"If there have been temperament issues he has been lambasted for them.
"If we look over this qualifying tournament Wayne's discipline has been fantastic. I am not even certain he has got a yellow card.
"I am not prepared to concern myself with what he did in this tournament or that qualifier.
"I judge Wayne on how he has been with me since I have known him.
"He has been very good, both as a player and in terms of his discipline.
"Why should I doubt him?"