Youth holds the key to English improvement for Hodgson

The Three Lions' lack of technical ability was shown up in their defeat by Italy at Euro 2012, and the boss thinks that the young generation hold the key to future improvement
Roy Hodgson has admitted that England need to work on the technical side of their game in order to compete at the top level, and thinks that the recent influx of young players can be the key to improving on this.

The former West Brom boss used the recent friendly with Sweden to give international debuts to Steven Caulker, Raheem Sterling, Carl Jenkinson, and Wilfred Zaha, and has hinted that these could be the type of players he is looking to build his team around.

"We accept that the game is getting a lot faster, we need pace in the modern game, we need technique," Hodgson told talkSPORT.

"In some of the younger players coming through, we have got these qualities."

20-year-old Jack Wilshere and 21-year-old Danny Welbeck have also proved themselves to be key members of the England squad, but Hodgson is wary of putting too much pressure on such young and inexperienced shoulders.

"What it means is that you are a little bit reliant on these 20 to 22-year-olds who haven't played that many games and sometimes you can face the criticism that you are selecting a player who is maybe only a bit-part player for his team," he continued.

Despite gaining praise for their defensive performance against Italy at Euro 2012, the Three Lions were completely dominated possession-wise in the penalty shootout defeat, and Hodgson admitted it is an area of the game he is keen to improve upon.

"Obviously I think we need to pass better," he said.

"One of the things we thought, coming back from the Euros, that we need to improve is the quality of our passing and the possession side of our game - but possession in the right sense.

"To do that you need some players who can manipulate the ball, deal with the ball, beat a player and I'm really quite pleased that there are young players coming through who have got those qualities.

"I want an England team to go to a World Cup and compete well there and I think to do that we have got to make certain improvements."