Hodgson set on cast list for 2014 bid
Roy Hodgson has done his casting - now he hopes 2013 will prove to be the year he lands a World Cup berth.
It is nine months and 12 games since Hodgson was appointed the permanent successor to Fabio Capello. During that time he has run the rule over an incredible 44 players. Some, such as Joe Hart, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, can be reasonably secure of their spots. Others, like Jake Livermore and Stephen Kelly, may never be seen again.
"I've done my casting around," he said. "I am confident now I know the players. It's been important for me to give people the chance to show what they can do, to have a few days working with them and learning about them. But I would be very surprised if we'll use 44 players this year."
Hodgson recoils at the thought of his career being judged on the six qualifying fixtures, and potentially two play-off matches, that litter the path to South America in 16 months time.
And providing England succeed in their quest, it won't be as the final analysis will come once the Three Lions reach Brazil.
But if it all goes wrong, as it did for Steve McClaren during the Euro 2008 qualification campaign, Hodgson will be dismissed as a failure, no matter what other achievements he can point to.
"Maybe (it is a big year) but I can't think in those terms," he said.
"There have been quite a few years, most of my 38 as a manager, where I've thought being a success or failure that particular year will have an effect on the way I'm viewed.
"I was aware of the huge responsibility when I took on the job.
"The only thing I can do is make certain I take my job seriously, do the best I can, and ensure the team is well prepared. Then I hope I will get the results."
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