Roy Hodgson: No burnout fears for 'demoted' England players Raheem Sterling and Phil Jones

Sterling and Jones were among a group of players with senior caps, including Wilfried Zaha, Jonjo Shelvey and Jordan Henderson, who have all been selected in Stuart Pearce's squad to play Sweden

The England manager, Roy Hodgson, has launched a robust defence of his decision to allow the likes of Raheem Sterling and Phil Jones to play for the Under-21s next week, with a view to them taking part in the summer's Under-21s European Championship in Israel.

Sterling and Jones were among a group of players with senior caps, including Wilfried Zaha, Jonjo Shelvey and Jordan Henderson, who have all been selected in Stuart Pearce's squad to play Sweden in a friendly on Tuesday in anticipation of them being at the tournament in June.

Hodgson picked an experienced senior squad for Wednesday's game against Brazil, with Gareth Barry and Ashley Young the only regulars to miss out. There are only two goalkeepers included – Joe Hart and Jack Butland – because of injury to John Ruddy.

Asked whether he risked player "burnout", Hodgson said: "I don't understand burnout in that respect. Tournaments are played at the end of a season. How do you avoid the players not having played a long season before? Unless it is being suggested that anyone picked doesn't play for their clubs for five or six weeks beforehand.

"Every club will try to protect its players and international matches do impact on clubs. It has been a conundrum no one can solve and will exist until the end of footballing time."

England squad

To play Brazil at Wembley next Wednesday:

Butland (Birmingham), Hart (Man City); Baines (Everton), Cahill, A Cole (both Chelsea), Jagielka (Everton), G Johnson (Liverpool), Lescott (Man City), Smalling (Man Utd), Walker (Tottenham); Carrick, Cleverley (both Man Utd), Gerrard (Liverpool), Lampard (Chelsea), Lennon (Tottenham), Milner (Man City), Osman (Everton), Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Wilshere (all Arsenal); Defoe (Tottenham), Rooney (Man Utd), Sturridge (Liverpool), Welbeck (Man Utd).

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