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Shaw catches Hodgson's eye
11:30pm Wednesday 12th February 2014 in Sport
Luke Shaw could be set for an England call-up after Roy Hodgson admitted the teenager was the best-placed among Southampton's talented pool of defenders to make a late bid for a place in his World Cup squad.
Shaw may be 18-years-old, but he is already one of the most sought-after players in the English game.
That has not gone unnoticed by Chelsea and Manchester United, who are said to be ready to pay big money for the youngster this summer.
Hodgson has also been keeping an eye on Shaw's progress, along with his Saints teammates Nathaniel Clyne and Callum Chambers.
Hodgson would not reveal whether he planned to draft any of the trio into his squad for the March friendly against Denmark, but the England boss admitted that of the three, Shaw stands the best chance.
"You will have to wait and see (whether any of the three are picked for Denmark)," Hodgson said.
"I think of the three the obvious one who has been playing last season and has been in the team non-stop since the start of this season is Shaw.
"Clyne hasn't played all the game and Chambers is an Under-18 international.
"It is May when we make decision (about the World Cup)."
After years of playing second fiddle to Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines is now probably Hodgson's first choice thanks to the fact that he plays more regular first team football for Everton.
Cole, for so long England's number three, is now second choice at Stamford Bridge behind Cesar Azpilicueta, who normally operates at right-back.
Hodgson, who made Cole captain for his 100th appearance against the Republic of Ireland last season, remains a big fan of the 33-year-old, but there was also an acknowledgement from the England manager that he has a growing number of options in that position.
"It's a bit of a problem when you are a full back - you either play or you are an understudy," Hodgson said.
"For years people have been understudy to Ashley. Now it's Ashley's turn to sit back, but we know what Ashley can do. We know how fit he keeps himself, how experienced he is. I certainly wouldn't write Ashley Cole out of any plans because he wasn't playing in his club team. But he will have to accept like everyone else that competition for his place in the club team and international team gets stronger all the time, and I will have a decision to make."