England 2 Poland 0: Roy Hodgson issues challenge to youngsters ahead of potential friendly with Germany
Hodgson looks set to rest a number of key players but will stick with youngsters who have rejuvenated England's World Cup campaign
Wednesday 16 October 2013
Roy Hodgson has confirmed his intention to use England's remaining friendlies this season to give his younger players a chance to stake their World Cup claims.
Hodgson is basking in the glow of becoming only the sixth Englishman to guide his country into the finals.
Tuesday night's 2-0 win over Poland at Wembley ensures England will take their place alongside the other world heavyweights in Brazil next year.
But although Hodgson has seven months to put his plans in place, he may have as few as three friendlies to assess the relative merits of the players he has to choose.
It is anticipated a home friendly with Germany next month will be confirmed imminently, with a second November match to be sorted out as well.
And while opponents for the March 5 date ringfenced in the FIFA calendar might not be sorted out until after the finals draw in December, Hodgson has already decided on a plan of action.
"We have some interesting friendlies coming up," said Hodgson.
"That is a chance to give one or two a chance to put that England shirt on.
"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."
The name-checking is significant as it suggests seven of the older members of Hodgson's squad are sure of their places, while others have more to do.
It will also be interesting to see whether Hodgson elects to have a look at additional players in order to avoid the situation Fabio Capello found himself prior to the 2010 tournament, when he called Jamie Carragher out of international retirement and attempted to do the same with Paul Scholes.
Of the players who have no international experience, the most intriguing is West Ham's Ravel Morrison, who is finally starting to fulfil his potential and scored twice for England Under-21s in their victory over Lithuania on Tuesday.
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