Southgate reveals Hodgson plan

06 March 2014 11:46

England manager Roy Hodgson may take some young players with him to this summer's World Cup in addition to his 23-man squad for the tournament in Brazil, Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate has revealed.

While there has been plenty of debate about who should and should not be a part of the squad, it seems one or two of the country's emerging stars, even if they do not make the final cut, could still get to go along for the experience.

It is an idea Southgate says Hodgson has been considering and which he believes demonstrates the "joined-up thinking" in the England camp.

Meanwhile, Southgate's summer will see him take an under-20s squad to the Toulon Tournament in France, and he is "absolutely" intending to select teenage pair Raheem Sterling and Luke Shaw for it if Hodgson does not opt to take them to Brazil.

Winger Sterling and defender Shaw played in the seniors' 1-0 friendly win over Denmark on Wednesday having made the step up from the under-21s, and asked if he would use them for Toulon if they were available, Southgate said: "Yes. Absolutely.

"They have both been a big part of what we have done so far.

"There is also the possibility Roy might take a couple of youngsters for the experience.

"That is something he is thinking about - maybe taking a couple of younger players to give them experience of just being around it.

"It hasn't been finalised but I am guessing it might be a couple of the players who are not young enough to play in Toulon. They might be in the frame for that.

"It is something we have just touched upon really. But I think it shows the joined-up thinking with the England teams in trying to give our young players the right experience."

A particularly hot topic of conversation at the moment in relation to the squad for Brazil is who out of left-back duo Shaw, 18, and Ashley Cole, 33, should be chosen.

Southgate certainly has no complaints over losing the services of Shaw - holder of three under-21 caps and winner of his first senior one on Wednesday - to Hodgson's group.

And, indeed, it is something, bearing in mind Cole's age, which Southgate has been planning for for some time.

He said: "I felt with Luke that if we didn't lose him for the summer we probably would for the end of the (European Championship qualifying) campaign because we know that Ashley won't keep going forever.

"So I've already been thinking about succession planning."

Prior to the Denmark game, Hodgson stressed there should be no assumption made that the names he had left out of the 30-man squad for it were therefore not in the running for a place at the World Cup, a nd in terms of his players, Southgate has spoken about the door being "always open".

But following Wednesday's matches - England Under-21s were also in action, beating Wales 1-0 in a 2015 European Championship qualifier - Southgate played down the idea that any more of his squad might advance into the seniors in time for Brazil.

Asked if he expected to lose any more players in that way, Southgate said: "I wouldn't think any more now.

"I guess the goalkeeper (Jack Butland, who has one senior cap) is a possible.

"But if you look at the squad of 30 Roy picked, although I'm sure the door is not closed, I think others coming into it would more likely be senior players than any of our boys.

"I think if he was considering any of our boys he would have wanted to involve them by now."

Wednesday was a particularly frustrating night for two of Southgate's players in midfielder Ravel Morrison and forward Wilfried Zaha - both talked about not long ago as potential candidates to make Hodgson's World Cup squad.

Morrison, on loan at QPR from West Ham, struggled to impose himself on the Wales game before reacting to being substituted midway through the second half by heading straight down the tunnel, while Zaha, who has gone out on loan to Cardiff from Manchester United and has two senior caps, failed to get off the bench.

Asked how he dealt with disgruntled players who have been overlooked for the seniors, Southgate said: "I think they can now see the opportunity that's there for them.

"I don't think there's anybody in the squad, Raheem and Luke included, who has not realised it's important to play international football with us.

"It's a pretty realistic group of players. They know it's a long road and it's the exceptions who get through at this young age, not the rule.

"I think for their development this experience is a good thing for all concerned. If they go up too early it could be a bad thing."

Source: PA