Wigan forward Callum McManaman set to be rewarded for fine form with England call-up
Hodgson will watch Wigan winger tonight as he and Pearce mull over summer squads
Sam Wallace is Football Correspondent for The Independent.
A C Grayling
A. C. Grayling is an English philosopher and founder of independent undergraduate college, New College of the Humanities. He is the author of several books including The Refutation of Scepticism (1985), The Meaning of Things (2001) and The Good Book (2011).
Tuesday 14 May 2013
Roy Hodgson will be at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night to watch English football's latest emerging talent Callum McManaman for the second time in four days having admitted that it is time to replace the "old guard" in the England team.
The England manager, who announces his next squad for the friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil on Thursday, said in an interview to mark one year in the job that he will turn to a new generation of players, with younger players expected to figure before the end of the World Cup qualifying campaign.
Hodgson will watch McManaman play for Wigan Athletic against Arsenal but the 22-year-old is also eligible to play for the Under-21s this summer. Despite recent stellar performances, he is more likely to be included in Stuart Pearce's squad for the European Championship in Israel, which is named today.
There was bad news for Hodgson on Monday when Arsène Wenger officially ruled Jack Wilshere out of the friendlies at Wembley on 29 May and in Rio de Janeiro four days later. The 21-year-old Arsenal midfielder will have surgery to remove a pin from his right ankle, which was inserted in an operation in 2011. The England captain Steven Gerrard will also miss the games to have a shoulder operation.
Hodgson was at his most outspoken when it came to the age of his players. In his last squad, for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro, the manager selected eight players who were aged 30 or over.
That statistic compared unfavourably with other leading European nations. The squads of Spain, France and the Netherlands for that international break comprised eight 30-plus players combined.
Yesterday, Hodgson conceded that he had to give others a chance and that "one or two" he had capped who would be in Pearce's squad could be permanently promoted after the summer.
He could well have been referring to Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Zaha, although he has also given debuts to Jonjo Shelvey and Ryan Bertrand, as well as placing greater importance on Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Hodgson said: "Football is a changing and continuous scenario. We are to some extent in a situation where there is a changing of the guard. We have had a very strong group of players going onto the last three tournaments. All of them are outstanding players and still playing in the Premier League.
"If we are to raise our heads and look to the future we have to start giving more responsibility to some of the younger ones coming through who also have tremendous talent and great potential. But we will never see that potential if we keep on with the old guard.
"So I'm really hoping that some of the players that have come into the team recently who have excited us are going to kick on and we are going to discover one or two more, not least of all in the Under-21s tournament coming up in Israel. There are some interesting players in Stuart's squad who could well be in my squad when that tournament finishes."
Wenger said that the procedure on Wilshere was "a very small, small, small one, it will not be a problem. It is taking out a pin." He added: "Of course [he is disappointed], but he will go next year. At the moment he plays with painkillers and I use him only when it's really needed."
Hodgson will make his squad announcement at sponsors Vauxhall's headquarters in Luton. England are second in group H behind Montenegro and play three of their four remaining qualifiers at home next season.
"We have a tough autumn coming up," said the England coach. "We haven't sprinted away in the group. It's very, very close. We have to make sure in the next qualifying games, three of which are at home, that we press home our advantage to get to Brazil."
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