England coach Roy Hodgson will risk the wrath of Premier League bosses by selecting his strongest possible squad for the end of season friendlies against Brazil and the Republic of Ireland.
The Three Lions, who are struggling to secure World Cup qualification following Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against Montenegro, face Giovanni Trapattoni’s men at Wembley on May 29 before jetting off to face Brazil in Rio on June 2.
Hodgson was left red-faced by Rio Ferdinand’s decision to snub the offer of an England recall ahead of last week’s World Cup qualification double-header, but despite an already punishing schedule, which has been further complicated by Chelsea’s friendly in the United States against Manchester City on May 23, the former Fulham boss has vowed to pick his marquee players.
Hodgson told reporters: “I’ve now got six or seven weeks to concern myself with who plays against Ireland and who goes to Brazil.
“These are two bona fide matches and a lot of other teams in this period are playing qualifying games.
“So, I don’t think I need have any worries as to whether the players I select will come and play for England. They’re aware we need to prepare well for the autumn internationals.
“May and June are Fifa dates. When there are Fifa dates, the first call on the players is for the international teams.”