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Hodgson: Fatigue concerns not exclusive to Gerrard and Parker

The England coach says he does not regard the two midfielders, at age 32 and 31 respectively, as "old" and thinks the heat will inevitably have an effect on his whole squad

England manager Roy Hodgson has insisted that his concerns about fatigue are not exclusive to Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker as his side prepares for its second Group D match against Sweden on Friday.

The workload put upon midfield duo Gerrard and Parker - both aged above 30 - has increased in light of injuries to Frank Lampard, Jack Wilshere and Gareth Barry, with inexperienced replacements Phil Jones and Jordan Henderson providing backup.

Gerrard had some minor problems in England’s pre-tournament friendly matches and Parker was unable to complete the Three Lions' first group game against France after suffering from cramp.

But despite being two of the eldest players in his team, Hodgson insists he has no specific qualms about the fitness of his key midfield pair, believing that the heat in Ukraine will inevitably take its toll on squad members of all ages.

"Scott's 31 and Steven 32, we're not talking about old players," Hodgson told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Age doesn't bother me, obviously when you go into the third game you are going to be concerned for all your players, not just Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker.

"You're going to be concerned for them all whatever age they are because three games played in Ukraine in heat takes it out of everybody.

"But we have the players I think in the squad to step up to the plate and I'm pretty sure that first of all these players will be wanting to play all the games and they'll be working very hard as they've done after this France game to make certain they recover and are ready to go again."

England will be looking to take a big step towards progressing to the next round of the tournament after its 1-1 draw with France in the opening fixture.

Sweden was defeated by hosts Ukraine, despite taking the lead through Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and will be keen to put its first points on the board in the tournament.

Hodgson does not envisage making major changes ahead of the clash with the Scandinavian side.

"As yet we haven't actually picked the team of course and I am certainly not prepared to say at this stage whether there will be changes or no changes," he continued.

"But there won't be wholesale changes, that's for certain because we don't have any injury problems and the players who did well against France are all hoping to get picked to play again."

Hodgson identified Ibrahimovic as a world class striker but also insisted that his side has a player of the same quality in the form of the suspended Wayne Rooney.

"When you talk about Sweden you talk a lot about Ibrahimovic and how important he is for them and how he can decide a game, how his individual ability and the fact he is a world class player can make an enormous difference, especially to a team which is well organized and hard-working like the Swedish team is," Hodgson explained.

"He [Rooney] is a world class player and there's no doubt that when we get him on the field we'll be a much stronger and more potent attacking force than we are when he's not playing."

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