Football

Go for youth, Hodgson

Hoddle urges England boss to unleash the young Lions in Brazil

Roy Hodgson will make the toughest call of his 38-year career in management today when he names his 23-man squad for the World Cup.

Seven days later, England begin a three-week build-up which takes in Portugal, London and Miami.

The England manager said that he has selected his squad "weeks ago", but he has had to make several alterations due to injuries to Theo Walcott, Andros Townsend and Jay Rodriguez.

Further changes will be required if Kyle Walker and Phil Jones are ruled out with their respective pelvic and shoulder injuries.

One of the main talking points will be whether Hodgson includes Ashley Cole or Luke Shaw as understudy to Leighton Baines. Hodgson has not ruled out taking all three.

If Jones and Walker are ruled out, Hodgson is likely to draft in another centre half - possibly either Steven Caulker of Cardiff or Everton teenager John Stones, who made his fist Premier League start only on New Year's Day.

Up front, Hodgson must decide whether to include either Rickie Lambert or Andy Carroll.

Jermain Defoe is sweating on his place after leaving Tottenham for the far inferior quality of Toronto FC in March.

Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick will be concerned about their places after a poor season with Manchester United while Hodgson must decide between John Ruddy, Fraser Forster and Jack Butland for the third goalkeeper position.

Former England manager Glenn Hoddle has urged Hodgson to unleash the Young Lions at the World Cup in Brazil.

Hoddle believes that it is essential to take England's best up-and-coming stars such as Shaw, Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana and Ross Barkley to the World Cup to help them develop.

He told the Daily Mail: "If they don't get the opportunity to go to the World Cup and gain that experience, then they are never going to progress."

Hoddle had a young Michael Owen at his disposal at in the World Cup in France in 1998 and knows just how much impact rising stars can have at a major tournament.

He added: "I really think we have seen some electrifying prospects over the years. We've seen them before when I was manager.

YOUNG QUARTET

"I was very fortunate to have a young Michael Owen, a young Rio Ferdinand and a young Paul Scholes and a young David Beckham. They were four fantastic players.

"Did they know everything then? And were they as good then as they eventually became? No. They grew and gained experience.

"I think Sterling, Lallana and Shaw, these players will be so much better for the experience of going to the World Cup, especially in two years' time.

"The youngsters do excite me. Lallana and Barkley are great because they are not playing in rigid systems that are just 4-4-2.

"They are being given the freedom and responsibility to express themselves, that's what I think Roy has got to look at. I think it is a good time for them to go to Brazil."

Meanwhile, Hodgson will not ram the subject of penalties down his players' throats when they begin preparations for the World Cup.

England have won just one of the seven penalty shoot-outs they have taken part in, but Hodgson will discuss the topic at length with his squad only if they qualify for the knock-out stages.

"I've got to say the subject of penalties bores me a little bit," the England manager said. "I won't be giving it an enormous amount of thought until we get out of the group stages.

"Of course we will practise a few, as every team do. But I would think psychologically the obsession we have with penalty shoot-outs can only be negative in terms of succeeding in the next one.

"I'm not a psychologist, but I think if you go around all day worrying about a particular problem in life, there's a much greater chance that problem will become greater than if you are able to put that problem out of your mind."

- Wire Services.


The youngsters do excite me. Lallana and Barkley are great because they are not playing in rigid systems that are just 4-4-2.

— Glenn Hoddle