Mar 07, 2014

    England's young steal the show


    ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson drew encouragement from his younger players' performance, after seeing his side edge out Denmark 1-0 in their final game before he selects his World Cup squad.

    He debuted 18-year-old Southampton left-back Luke Shaw and saw 19-year-old Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling named man of the match in Wednesday's friendly at Wembley Stadium.

    Adam Lallana, 25, and 23-year-old Danny Welbeck also impressed after coming on in the second half, with the former teeing up 24-year-old Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge to head home the 82nd-minute winner.

    England finished the game with six players aged 25 or under on the pitch, and Hodgson believes that their display against an obdurate Denmark augur well for the World Cup in Brazil.

    "You couldn't get me to say anything negative about any of the young players on show today (Wednesday)," he said.

    "At one stage, we had only Gary Cahill, Joe Hart, Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard who would consider themselves seniors. The others were finding their way, and yet we still didn't give Denmark a sniff at our goal.

    "That's a positive thing. I wanted the young players to have a chance to get out there and play at Wembley, and I'm sure Shaw and Lallana will go back to Southampton feeling very positive."

    One player who did not feature was Frank Lampard, but Hodgson dismissed suggestions that he or his Chelsea teammate Ashley Cole - who gave way to Shaw at half-time - had slipped down the pecking order.

    Asked if Lampard's position on the squad was vulnerable, Hodgson replied: "No. No more vulnerable than anybody else's.

    "Frank will have to accept (not playing), in the same way that I didn't play Michael Carrick tonight either...

    "As far as I'm concerned, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are two people who are still very much in the reckoning for a place, and I'll have to make a decision one day."