Hodgson excited about future
England manager Roy Hodgson is excited rather than apprehensive about the prospect of banishing their painful World Cup memories with a new-look, Wayne Rooney-led side.
The inquest may be continuing and the dust yet to settle, but the Three Lions are having to move on from their worst ever display on the world stage and plan for the future.
Steven Gerrard, England's captain in Brazil, and Frank Lampard have called time on their international career in the two-month intervening period, with Hodgson now charged with finding a winning formula with a far less experienced cast list.
On Thursday he, as expected, handed Rooney the captain's armband when announcing the 22-man squad for the upcoming friendly against Norway and European Championship qualifier in Switzerland.
The Manchester United forward is the only player to have been selected with more than 50 senior caps to his name, but such inexperience enthuses rather than fazes Hodgson.
"I don't think there is any reason for trepidation," he said. "Don't forget there is no Walcott, no Barkley, no Lallana [due to injury], all of whom have shown already that they're serious part of what we want to do going forwards.
"I don't see any reason for us to be fearful in any way, but on the other hand it is going to be exciting and to some extent anxious moments for us all to see if the players can step up.
"We've been a bit unlucky that our opening qualifier is probably, at least on paper, the most difficult fixture we have.
"We have to confront that with a lot of players who have to assume an awful lot of responsibility, without getting the softer introduction that maybe could've come their way."
As well as the aforementioned trio, Kyle Walker, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Jon Flanagan, Glen Johnson, Kieran Gibbs and Jay Rodriguez are absent through injury, further accelerating England's need to change.
The uncapped quartet of Jack Colback, Calum Chambers, Danny Rose and Fabian Delph have been called up for first time and, while stopping short of calling this a new era, Hodgson underlined the importance of moving on from the World Cup with the heroes of the future.
"We have to now put our faith in a different group of players, really," he said. "So many senior players, who have served the country so well with their 400 or 500 caps between them, have all decided to call it a day.
"What we have now, I think, is some very, very exciting and talented players with enormous potential.
"But what they don't have is a lot of experience playing for their national team and a lot of experience as yet playing in the Champions League. They'll get it, one hopes, over the next two years.
"In the initial period, we're going to have accept that the experiences of people like Terry and Cole and Gerrard and Lampard and Carrick, you don't wave a magic wand.
"Let me emphasise, when I mention Michael Carrick he is injured at the moment, he's not retired. I hope not any way!"
Hodgson is well aware, though, that his excitement for the future is not matched by many onlookers, with the World Cup hangover affecting fans' enthusiasm towards the national team - highlighted by the fact only 17,000 tickets had been sold for the Norway match as of a week ago.
"We have to accept, of course, that at the moment there will be a mood of disappointment and we can't put that right because we can't play the two games again," he said, referring to the losses to Italy and Uruguay.
"But I think the people who look at this squad, who watch these players every week playing for their club teams, I think they'll have seen what I've seen.
"I think they'll be as excited about the potential of these players as I am and I fully believe, because I suppose I am an optimist in this regard, the England public will give these guys a good chance, will get behind them, will wish them well.
"I am sure they want as much as I do to see the new Gerrards, the new Lampards, the new Terrys, the new Coles, the new Rooneys, et cetera, et cetera.
"They want to see these players coming through and that can only happen if the development within their clubs continues at a pace and the development with us continues at a pace."
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