Hodgson hopes young guns can fire England

04 October 2012 11:48

England manager Roy Hodgson is coming to terms with life after John Terry and hopes the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland will kick star a new era for English football.

San Marino's visit to Wembley next Friday will be the first fixture for Hodgson since former captain Terry announced his retirement from international football.

The Chelsea man claimed the Football Association's decision to charge him with racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, even though he had been found innocent in court of a similar charge, made his position in the team untenable.

Terry has since been found guilty by an FA disciplinary committee, fined £220,000 and banned for four matches; a decision which seems to draw a permanent line under his England career.

"I regret his decision, of course," said Hodgson. "He did a great job in the short time I worked with him, and played well for me. But he's made his decision.

"It's a decision that's irrevocable as far as he's concerned, so all I can do is wish him well in his Chelsea career. It's a closed chapter as far as I'm concerned. It's important to move forward."

Hodgson has done that by selecting Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross in his squad and by ignoring calls for Manchester United veteran Rio Ferdinand to be recalled.

"Ryan has been doing very well at the start of this season and over a period of time at Stoke and it'll be interesting to have a look at him." said Hodgson, who ignored criticism that Shawcross, who famously broke Arsenal player Aaron Ramsey's leg with a challenge, can be over-physical.

"He's captain of Stoke. When you captain a team, it shows you have certain qualities. My contact with him has been from the opposing bench, and he's always had good games.

"He's got centre-back qualities and, like all centre-backs, he'll be accused from time to time of overstepping the mark. But that would be a harsh criticism. I've not seen that myself."

The selection of Shawcross comes as a blow to Wales, who had also considered calling up the centre-half - he was born in Chester close to the Welsh border, went to school in Wales as a boy and played for the country's Under 15s.

But Hodgson has denied the defender's call-up was primarily to keep him out of the clutches of another team -- a point perhaps backed up by his decision not to select Arsenal's rapidly-improving right-back Carl Jenkinson who already has caps for Finland Under 21s but is also eligible for England.

Hodgson said: "It wouldn't be fair play for national teams to try and 'sign someone up' and try and block them, knowing they don't particularly want them themselves, if they're not going to play.

"I'd like to think that if I've called up Shawcross, he has a genuine chance of playing for us and deserves to be in the squad. Wales didn't come into my thinking at all.

"With Jenkinson, I am aware that Finland are after him. I spoke to (Finland coach) Mixu Paatelainen and he said 'can't you let us have Jenkinson'. It's not a matter of that. He's on our radar and someone we're keen to explore."

Hodgson has also selected Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster saying: "We know a lot about him, but we haven't seen a lot of him close hand."

And he opted to bring back Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon who last played for England in June 2010, as well as Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs, all with an eye to the future.

"Lennon has started the season exceptionally well and deserves a call up after a long absence." Hodgson said. "Kieran Gibbs, like Jenkinson, has started very well for Arsenal. On this occasion, we decided to go with Gibbs.

"I have seen these players from the stands but it will be nice to have a chance to work with them and see how they could contribute to the team we are trying to build.

"It has to be some sort of rejuvenation process with the England team."

Source: AFP