England World Cup squad: Michael Owen praises 'squad picked for now'

Owen starred in the 1998 World Cup and he believes the current crop have been selected on merit

Former England striker Michael Owen believes Roy Hodgson has named "a squad for now" and is not looking too far into the future after the England head coach named his 23-man group for this summer's World Cup finals.

Hodgson announced his squad on Monday afternoon and included young players such as Luke Shaw and Ross Barkley, along with experienced internationals like Frank Lampard - but there was no place for Ashley Cole and Michael Carrick was named on the replacements list.

Chelsea defender Cole announced his international retirement on Sunday evening having missed out on the squad, with Shaw included alongside Everton's Leighton Baines as England's left-backs.

Read more: Hodgson admits 'we can win World Cup'
Hodgson attempts to ease pressure on Barkley

Owen told BT Sport's Sports Hub: "It's a team for now. Yes, it's building for the future but our best players are these players.

"I wouldn't look at it and think 'he's let go of a top-class ageing player in place of a youngster to give him experience'.

"The likes of (Raheem) Sterling and (Adam) Lallana and Barkley, they're on merit, they're players that can affect the game at international level.

Read more: How the squad was revealed
Axing Cole one of the 'hardest' decisions - Hodgson
Who were the most high-profile players to miss out?

"It's great that some of our best players are young and they're going to stay in the squad, but this really is the squad for now and Roy Hodgson's said that - he's picking a team for now. Why would you go to a World Cup just blooding youngsters?

"A lot is said of the experience, but there's no great experience going out to Brazil for six weeks and sitting on the bench and not kicking one ball. I'd prefer to get our best 23 players out there and thankfully a few of them are youngsters which stands us in good stead for the future."

 

Owen admitted he was pleased with Hodgson's selection but was worried what would happen if captain Steven Gerrard was to get injured, with no direct replacement cover as Carrick missed out.

He added: "I like the squad, I really do like the squad. But, my only concern is, if you look at the different midfield players, if Steven Gerrard got injured, then who could sit in there?

"You'd say maybe (Jordan) Henderson, but he's a runner and we're going to need his legs.

Read more: Stones could still replace Jones if he fails to recover
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"The lack of somebody like Michael Carrick maybe to come in in case Steven Gerrard got injured but apart from that I really do like the squad and I think it's a good pick from Roy Hodgson."

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