Hodgson keen to experiment with young England players

The Three Lions boss is keen to test some of the country's more unproven stars against Italy, including a number of those who competed for Great Britain at the Olympic Games
England manager Roy Hodgson is keen to experiment with some of the country's younger international hopefuls in the Three Lions' upcoming friendly against Italy.

Ryan Bertrand, Steven Caulker, Tom Cleverley and Daniel Sturridge – all of whom represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games – have been called-up for the fixture.

Tottenham midfielder Jake Livermore and Everton star Jack Rodwell, both of whom are under 23 years of age as well, have also been included in Hodgson's latest squad.

The former West Brom boss also selected a few senior players such as Frank Lampard and Gary Cahill, who missed out on a place in the Euro 2012 squad due to injury.

"I think it's very important to get a look at some of the younger players," Hodgson told Sky Sports.

"But it's also important to make sure that the players who should have been with us at the Euros - John Ruddy, Frank Lampard, Gary Cahill - had a chance to come with us on this occasion.

"I still think there's a good balance in the squad. There are plenty of senior players there to start the game for us but it will also be nice to see some of the younger ones. There are, I think, nine young players that we want to take a look at and this is the ideal opportunity.

"You don't get many chances when you've got a fairly settled squad to look at other potential candidates and this friendly match gives me that opportunity. As a national coach you need every game that you can get to look at players.

"I've left out a lot of the players who did extremely well at the Euros - the senior players whose overall position in the squad is in no doubt - to give others a chance."

Hodgson recognised that the match against Cesare Prandelli's team, which will be played three days before the start of the Premier League season, would not be popular with top flight managers.

He hoped, however, that his decision to omit some of the country's big-name stars, such as Wayne Rooney and John Terry, would appease the club bosses.

"There's no way you can really help the clubs because every club would rather have the players to themselves up to the start of the season," he explained.

"But we are one of 80 (national) teams all over the world that needs to play and I'm just hoping the clubs realise I've done my best to keep a balance.

"And of course, in particular, some of these younger players aren't necessarily ones who would start for their clubs anyway."

Hodgson will return to a familiar country for the fixture, which will be played in Berne, having managed the Switzerland national team as well as club sides Neuchatel Xamax and Grasshoppers in the past.

"It seems strange since being given the national team job I seem to be crossing swords with Sweden and Italy - two places that I know very well - and now I go to back to Berne," he mused.

"Italy are a good opponent. I think it's important to play top quality opponents. There's not much point for me in playing teams that aren't really going to be able to beat us.

"So we're playing top quality opposition. We did it before the Euros playing Norway and Belgium and we're continuing that line.

"We're playing Sweden later on in the year and we've got a friendly against Brazil so no-one can accuse us of taking the easy route to get a few cheap victories under our belt."