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Hodgson's praise for Saints
Roy Hodgson believes the work conducted by clubs like Saints has given him a better pool of players to pick from for the World Cup.
The England boss tonight takes charge of the final match before naming his squad for Brazil, as Denmark visit Wembley for a friendly encounter.
None of those were on his radar when he picked the squad for his first major tournament – Euro 2012.
But Hodgson has been buoyed by the number of English players who have been coming through since then.
“There is no doubt that, two years down the road, two things have happened,” he said.
“I know the players better and, perhaps more importantly, I think that, directly after the Euros, perhaps we were bemoaning the fact that there weren’t maybe so many young players coming through that excited us and gave us real hope for the future.
“Now I think you would agree with me when I say that is not the case today, and teams like Southampton and Liverpool have been very good in putting their faith in young players and not being frightened to give the players their chance to show what they can do, and luckily the players have accepted that challenge, and luckily for me they are English.”
Hodgson will experiment to some degree tonight, but he admitted that his line-up may also offer some clues as to who will start England’s World Cup opener against Italy.
However, the England boss wants as many players as possible to enhance their case for Brazil this evening, but he also pointed out that the fixture is not the be-all and end-all in that sense.
“It is time as a player you want to continue to impress the manager or grasp your opportunity to impress,” he said.
“That is the chance.
“Try and win the game and play well personally and for the team and make sure the manager doesn’t leave you out the 23.
“I’m looking for a good performance.
“I’m looking for them to show that they take it very seriously and are anxious that I shall pick them.
“I’m not prepared to over-exaggerate the importance, I’m not going to suddenly pick someone I wouldn’t have picked because he scores a goal against Denmark.
“On the same basis, I’m not going to leave anyone out who is a key member of our team because he has a poor game tomorrow.
“Every time you put a shirt on as an England player you are in the limelight and put yourself up for praise or criticism and you are not going to get away from that.”
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