England

Hodgson excited for England future

What changes will Hodgson make when England faces Poland on Tuesday?
What changes will Hodgson make when England faces Poland on Tuesday?
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Where they stand

Montenegro's 3-0 victory against San Marion means they lead UEFA's Group H World Cup qualifying group.
RANK COUNTRY GP P +/-
1 Montenegro 4 10 +10
2 England 4 8 +10
3 Poland 3 5 +2
4 Moldova 4 4 -5
5 Ukraine 3 2 -1
6 San Marino 4 0 -16
 

Roy Hodgson believes the senior England players will find if "harder and harder" to hold on to their place because of the rapid development of the younger talent at his disposal.

Hodgson is expected to revert to a more experienced line-up for Tuesday's testing World Cup qualifier with Poland in Warsaw.

Skipper Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson, James Milner, Ashley Cole and Jermain Defoe are all expected to return.

But the likes of Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck, who netted twice against San Marino on Friday, have staked their claim when given a chance by Hodgson.

It is part of the gradual evolution that has taken place in the squad since the woeful 2010 World Cup campaign in South Africa.

Hodgson said: "There are some very good young players coming on to the scene and the experienced players will find it harder and harder to fight off the challenge of these younger players. I think the turnover of players since the World Cup is (was) probably necessary. Players can't go on and on. In a country like England, it is good, without having a totally fresh start, that you do start thinking are there alternatives out there, is there a another route we could possibly take to achieve our goals. We've started to embark on that route ourselves. There are a lot of younger players either in their teams at the moment or just about to break in who will be important players.

"It is important to start introducing those to the national team as soon as possible. At the moment they might get a chance in friendly matches because some of the senior players are still going strong. But it is good when they get a chance to play against Italy, Moldova and San Marino that they don't let the team down and play well enough to make us believe we should keep faith with them, and ask whether we should include them in the first team."

WORLD IN MOTION

Check out all the best action shots from FIFA's World Cup qualifying.

Hodgson admits he does have a few tough decisions to make in terms of his side after the impressive form of left-back Leighton Baines and Welbeck against San Marino.

He said: "There are a few (decisions) and that's good. It's good to have those decisions. I prefer not to quantify them or put them in any order. But it was very good the players who came in against San Marino, who many people do not see as the first choice, played so well and that does mean you get a bit more of a selection headache."

Hodgson is aware of the significance of England obtaining a positive result in Warsaw particularly as they will not return to qualifying action for five months.

He said: "We were aware when the draw was made that Poland and Ukraine were important fixtures. If we can take more points from them than they take from us it gives us a great advantage. Because it is five months to the next qualifier, it will make a victory that much sweeter and a defeat that much more painful. It is the same as when a club team loses or wins before an international break except at this level the gap before you play again is considerably longer."

Hodgson was impressed with stand-in skipper Wayne Rooney against San Marino but hopes Gerrard, who is back from suspension, is available for the foreseeable future to lead his country.

The England head coach said: "Wayne had captained the team before. He is a senior player despite being younger than the other senior players, with 77 caps, 31 goals. It was a fairly obvious choice in Steven's absence and, if he is absent again, Wayne could captain the team again. Frank Lampard captained the team in Italy and could also do it if Steven is absent. But first of all I'm hoping Steven won't be absent that often."

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