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Hodgson not rushed over Ravel

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17 Oct 2013 08:31:55

Hodgson not rushed over Ravel

Roy Hodgson is not getting swept along by the push for Ravel Morrison to become the latest youngster to be elevated into the senior England ranks just yet.

With the country enthused at the performance of Hodgson's youthful squad in the victories over Montenegro and Poland, in particular Andros Townsend, the hunt is on for likely candidates to make a late charge for a World Cup place.

Morrison is a prime candidate.

The West Ham youngster has enjoyed a sensational start to the season and has handled the transition to England Under-21 duty pretty well judging by his goalscoring contribution to wins against San Marino and Lithuania.

Yet Hodgson, who bounced Everton's Ross Barkley straight from the Under-20 World Cup into his squad for all this season's qualifiers, is urging caution.

"I know Ravel Morrison is a player who interests you all," said Hodgson.

"He interests us as well because the lad has got fantastic talent.

"Saido Berahino, whom I know well from my West Brom days, has been a breath of fresh air too.

"I do like the way the Under-21s play. With their movements and passing ideas it is a mirror image of what we are trying to do.

"But, to be fair, San Marino and Lithuania Under-21s are not quite the same level as we are talking about with the England senior team.

"And I have to say, (Danny) Welbeck, (Kyle) Walker, (Jack) Wilshere, even to some extent Ross Barkley, have proved they can do it.

"So these young lads have a few of their own to get past before we even start talking about Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard."

Nevertheless, given the bleak picture of youth development painted by Football Association chairman Greg Dyke in his keynote speech to mark his appointment last month, it is a positive Hodgson is able to discuss the subject of squad selection in such an upbeat manner.

The obvious problem is that England will not launch their campaign for almost eight months.

It was current UEFA president Michel Platini who once famously declared England to be lions in the autumn and lambs in the spring.

There is some truth to those words given the draining effect an English domestic season has on players.

It is why Hodgson is reluctant to discuss any selection issues, in particular whether any of his old guard might be at risk when he submits his 23-man squad at the beginning of June.

"You're not going to jettison any players light-heartedly," he said.

"These players have done extremely well so far. I will be monitoring them and working with them and we'll see what happens.

"Selection could be very difficult. We've got a lot of very good young players coming through and we've still got the good old guard ready and able to play as well.

"It's not going to be easy and it will give me lots of reason for thought.

"But I don't think I'll bother about it so much on October 16. Sometimes these things take care of themselves."

It is not just the make-up of Hodgson's squad that requires thought.

His team too will not be arrived at easily.

For in his performance at Wembley on Tuesday, Leighton Baines underlined why many now feel he has leapfrogged Ashley Cole, a recent addition to England's illustrious 100-cap club.

"Ashley has been a lynch-pin for so long," said Hodgson.

"But Baines has always been appreciated as well.

"It's good to have two players of that quality competing.

"It does give the manager a headache because you have to decide and whichever you choose will divide opinion because each has a body who think he is the right man."


PA

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