Hodgson keen to blood young England players before World Cup 2014

The Three Lions coach has admitted that some of the youngsters he has called up 'might not be ready today' but says it is important they gain experience with the senior squad
England coach Roy Hodgson has admitted that he has called up some young players to the national team to help prepare them for World Cup 2014.

Wilfried Zaha is the latest prospect to be included in the senior squad despite having made only five appearances for the Under-21 side and is playing in the second tier of English football.

Hodgson explained the importance of selecting players who might not be ready to contribute immediately so that they are prepared for major tournaments in years to come.

"When you select a squad of 23 players, there is plenty of space to put some in there who arguably might not be ready today," Hodgson told Fifa's official website. "Bearing in mind if we're going to qualify for Brazil, it's nearly two years' time.

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"One does need, in the present, to keep an eye on some of these, because who knows, some of these young players who are around the fringes of our squad - getting some experience, getting a feel of what it might be like to be a Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard or Ashley Cole - might, in two years' time, be right up there alongside these players, might even be taking their places if these players can't keep up to the standard we've acquired."

The St George's Park National Football Centre was opened in October and Hodgson is optimistic that the future is bright for the Three Lions.

The former West Brom manager is keen to leave a legacy beyond his own spell in charge of the country by placing his trust in the next generation of England players.

"That's the job if you're a national coach," Hodgson said of balancing the present and the future. "Some people suggest the eye on the present should be your only focus. I don't agree with that.

"I think that you should be trying to do the job in the present while at least bearing in mind that one day you're no longer going to be the manager and what are you leaving behind? What sort of work will have been done when your time with the national team happens to be over?

"But there's no doubt that the present is very important. We need to have a successful team. If we're going to fall by the wayside at national team level then our messages are going to be harder to put forward.

"There's no doubt we're going to see a vast improvement over the coming ten years, and I think you see it already if you look at the young players that are coming through today.

"[Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain, [Danny] Welbeck, [Tom] Cleverley, [Ryan] Bertrand, [Kieran] Gibbs, [Jack] Wilshere - in all of these players you can see that technically they are of a very good level. It can only get better."