Hodgson expects tough selection

Roy Hodgson insists he won't dump any of England's old guard out of the World Cup squad without a great deal of thought.

Last Updated: 17/10/13 at 06:51 Post Comment

Roy Hodgson will not dump any of England's old guard without a great deal of thought.

Frank Lampard is due to celebrate his 36th birthday during next summer's World Cup and fellow midfielder Michael Carrick will be 33 not long after it.

Given skipper Steven Gerrard is 34 in May it presents Hodgson with a tricky dilemma given the heat England could experience in Brazil.

There have already been suggestions one of Lampard or Carrick, and possibly both, might be ignored when Hodgson names his final 23-man squad at the beginning of June.

But it is not a decision he will take lightly.

"You're not going to jettison any players light-heartedly," he said.

"These players have done extremely well so far. I will be monitoring them and working with them and we'll see what happens.

"Selection could be very difficult. We've got a lot of very good young players coming through and we've still got the good old guard ready and able to play as well.

"It's not going to be easy and it will give me lots of reason for thought.

"But I don't think I'll bother about it so much in October. Sometimes these things take care of themselves."

In addition to the players already on the fringes of Hodgson's squad, such as Everton's Ross Barkley, who are likely to get an opportunity in next month's friendly double-header that will include a Wembley meeting with Germany, others are beginning to press their claims as well.

West Ham midfielder Ravel Morrison is one such example.

The 20-year-old has enjoyed a sensational start to the season and handled the transition to England Under-21 duty pretty well judging by his goalscoring contribution to wins against San Marino and Lithuania.

Yet Hodgson is urging caution.

"I know Ravel Morrison is a player who interests you all," he said.

"He interests us as well because the lad has got fantastic talent.

"Saido Berahino, whom I know well from my West Brom days, has been a breath of fresh air too.

"I do like the way the under-21s play. With their movements and passing ideas it is a mirror image of what we are trying to do.

"But, to be fair, San Marino and Lithuania Under-21s are not quite the same level as we are talking about with the England senior team.

"And I have to say, (Danny) Welbeck, (Kyle) Walker, (Jack) Wilshere, even to some extent Ross Barkley, have proved they can do it.

"So these young lads have a few of their own to get past before we even start talking about Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard."

Meanwhile Hodgson will use the shock European Championship triumphs of Greece and Denmark as evidence England should not give up on their World Cup dream.

Whilst Hodgson has admitted his team will not be one of the favourites in Brazil next year, neither were Greece at Euro 2004, nor Denmark 12 years earlier when they were only parachuted into the tournament when Yugoslavia were told they could not compete.

Both ended up lifting the trophy.

"It's pretty obvious we're not favourites," said Hodgson.

"The main contenders are Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Germany I guess.

"Is it possible for a European team to win in Brazil? They haven't done yet but anything is possible isn't it?

"No one thought Greece would win the Euros in Portugal or for Denmark to get their players off the beach in 92, but they did.

"Every year it gets that little bit harder to look beyond the favourites but I am pretty sure all the European teams will be hoping to become the first one to reverse the trend.

"We will go with the same attitude."

England's slide down the rankings means they will not be seeded for December's draw, raising the potential for a pairing with hosts Brazil, Argentina or another of the tournament heavyweights.

In addition, they could find themselves pitted against a dangerous non seed from another confederation, such as Africa, or the CONCACAF region, from which Mexico have been condemned to a play-off against New Zealand in order to cement their place.

Yet England will have a puncher's chance as long as Wayne Rooney maintains his current form.

The Manchester United man has not impressed at a major tournament since he was an 18-year-old at Euro 2004.

He looks in the mood to end that sorry statistic though, taking his tally to nine goals from his last 10 internationals with the opener against Poland on Tuesday.

If he continues at that rate, he will be closing in on the 11 goals required to match Sir Bobby Charlton's all-time record before England even reach Brazil.

"His performances recently have been crowning glories," said Hodgson.

"They have not just been good performances, they have been decisive because of his goals.

"He is very settled at the moment. He has always been a big fan of playing for England. When he gets the chance to play his motivation is very high.

"He has started well for Manchester United and that bodes well for us.

"Of course, we are not picking a team to play in Brazil on October and a lot of things can happen.

"But at the moment, it is looking very good."


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