England vs Costa Rica World Cup 2014: Roy Hodgson reveals team for final Group D match
Youngsters Barkley and Shaw come in for Costa Rica clash
Roy Hodgson announced last night that he will make nine changes to the team which lost to Italy and Uruguay for tonight’s final World Cup game against Costa Rica, with youngsters Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley and Jack Wilshere all starting the game in Belo Horizonte.
The England manager took the unusual step of announcing his team in its entirety at his official pre-match press conference at the stadium, with only Daniel Sturridge and Gary Cahill remaining from the team that lost the two opening games. To judge by Hodgson’s comments, the team will line up in a different formation, 4-3-3, with Frank Lampard playing behind Wilshere and James Milner
He starts with Ben Foster in goal, a back four of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Cahill and Shaw. In attack he has selected Adam Lallana, Sturridge and Barkley. With nothing to play for other than the remnants of national pride, Hodgson has given hitherto unused members of the squad a chance, with Lampard earning what may well be his 106th and final cap as captain.
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Lampard said that he had not made a decision on his international future. Hodgson suggested he would accept Lampard was no longer a key member of the squad but would try to persuade him that if he were needed he would make himself available.
“With Frank Lampard, he’s 36. We don’t know as yet what his next destination is. I would be more than happy if Frank remains available for selection because you never know when you need players. A quality player like him is always good to have available if needed. But I haven’t had that conversation with him as such. I’m pretty sure that, if we said to him, ‘Look the chances are you might not feature quite so much but please don’t retire, please be available’, I’m sure he’d say we could count on him. He loves playing for England.”
As for the youngest players in the side, Shaw and Barkley, Hodgson said that he wanted them to show they could handle playing at the top level.
Hodgson said: “I’m looking for them to show their talent. Both of them are very good passers of the ball, very good at running with the ball. Both, for young players, have good vision. That will improve the more games they play, but they’re well advanced for their age.
“This is a chance for them to show they are good players. They have an opportunity to play from the start, and together in a game with other young players around them. They can show the faith and hope we have that those boys are ready to make their mark. This could be the first moment they give us an inkling that we are on the right track.”
Asked what England could salvage from the tournament, Hodgson said: “Two things, with a very different team and a lot of players who haven’t played so far. I wanted every-one to go home having taken part and played in a game, not just training. We’re very conscious that our fans are as disappointed and devastated as we are, but still support us.
“We had kind words [from supporters] in the hotel, and we want to make certain they see something they can take some encouragement from. Most importantly, it’s a top-ranked international on the biggest stage, so anything else than taking the game very seriously and trying to win would be out of the question.”
Hodgson has advised Gary Neville to take his time before making the leap from punditry into coaching full-time, warning that football management has become ever more difficult for young coaches.
“The first thing I’d say to him is don’t be in too much of a rush. Having a long career in football gets harder and harder. The number of jobs available vis-à-vis the amount of time people spend in those jobs gets less and less, so I certainly wouldn’t advise him necessarily to jump at the first opportunity.
“The longer he can combine the two roles [coaching and Sky Sports] the better. He’s learning a lot with us, working with more experienced coaches and top players, and that’s beneficial to him. He’s doing a very good job on the TV. So my advice would be keep it going for as long as you feel you want to. But I don’t have any doubt that he will become a top-class coach and top-class manager.”
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