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Hodgson: Youth will get chance

Roy Hodgson will use England's remaining friendlies this season to give his younger players a chance to impress ahead of the World Cup.

Last Updated: 16/10/13 at 16:01 Post Comment

Andros Townsend will get further chances to impress Roy Hodgson ahead of the Wor

Andros Townsend will get further chances to impress Roy Hodgson ahead of the Wor

England qualified for the Finals as winners of Group H on Tuesday night with a 2-0 win over Poland at Wembley, leaving Hodgson with seven months to prepare for Brazil.

His side are likely to play three friendlies before flying out to South America, the first a November home friendly with Germany, which is expected to be confirmed soon.

And after using a core group of players throughout qualification, he is keen to look at those on the fringe in the coming months.

"It is a chance to give one or two a chance to put that England shirt on," said Hodgson.

"I have been quite consistent in my team selections. A lot of players have played a large number of these 10 qualifying games.

"These friendlies will give me a chance to give one or two others a chance.

"More importantly, it will give (Daniel) Sturridge, (Andros) Townsend, (Chris) Smalling, (Jack) Wilshere, (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain, who we didn't have at the start of the campaign, a chance to play a bit more football.

"We know what some of the others - (Leighton) Baines, (Ashley) Cole, (Michael) Carrick, (Steven) Gerrard, (Frank) Lampard, (Phil) Jagielka, (Joe) Hart - can do."

Spurs midfielder Townsend - so impressive in the recent qualifiers - is among the youngsters looking to push their claims in the coming months.

The 22-year-old is now a strong contender for a place in Hodgson's 23-man squad, but appreciates that he can take nothing for granted as selections will be made based on club form over the remainder of the 2013/14 Premier League season.

"For me, I have got to put that to the back of my mind now," Townsend told Sky Sports News.

"I have got a difficult enough job trying to keep my place in the Tottenham team. We have got some fantastic players all vying for one position, so I have got to play well in every game and hopefully the rewards will come at the end of the season."

On what the future could hold for England, as they prepare for another shot at World Cup glory, Townsend added: "We're not going to get carried away.

"We know we have got some world class players, experienced players - like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard - but we have also got the youth coming through in (Danny) Welbeck, (Daniel) Sturridge and Jack Wilshere.

"So there is a nice mix of experienced players and the youngsters - the future is bright for us."

Captain Gerrard also wants England to remain grounded and hopes the expectations of a nation can be kept in balance as the squad look towards making an impact in Brazil next summer.

"The opportunity is there. I have said all week there is a good confidence and belief in the group, but at the same time we are going to keep ourselves grounded and stay humble," he said.

"It is important now that it does not flip and everyone thinks we are going to go and win the World Cup, that we are favourites and everyone gets carried away.

"What is important is we have shown everyone we are a good team.

"We have not felt sorry for ourselves when we have had criticism, we have rolled our sleeves up, tried to work hard and put it right.

"It is a great feeling to be in Brazil and hopefully we can go in with a little less pressure on ourselves and surprise a few."

England are 22/1 outsiders to win in Brazil - eighth in the pecking order, with the host nation the 100/30 favourites ahead of 5/1 trio Germany, Argentina and Spain.

Belgium (14/1), Italy (16/1) and Holland (20/1) are all priced shorter than England, who have now qualified for five consecutive World Cups.

Sky Bet football trader Chris Spicer said: "We are currently top price at 22/1 about England winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil ahead of the draw on December 6th, where they are expected to be among the second seeds."

He added: "Now that qualification is assured the focus will be on who will make Hodgson's final 23-man squad for the tournament.

"Andros Townsend was 12/5 to be on the plane after being named in the latest squad but having impressed in his first two caps he's now deemed likely to go at 8/15.

"Others are either on the verge of breaking through, such as Raheem Sterling who is 7/2 to make the squad, or a veteran like Jermain Defoe (3/1) who will be hoping experience can win him a spot."

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