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With Roy Hodgson bolstering his squad with inexperienced talent in other positions, the former midfielder believes the Three Lions' back-line also needs an injection of youth

Paul Scholes feels England require two young, ball-playing central defenders to come through their ranks after a series of defensive errors saw the Three Lions come unstuck against Uruguay.

Roy Hodgson was commended for naming the likes of full-back Luke Shaw, midfielder Ross Barkley and winger Raheem Sterling in his squad, though stuck with Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka in defence, but the side face early elimination after losing their opening two World Cup games for the first time ever.

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Scholes, however, believes Hodgson's introduction of a new generation of talent should have extended to the back-line too, and lamented a lack of quality in defence.

"Roy's close to finding something - but he needs two young centre-halves that have the balls to play, the balls to step into midfield now and again and full-backs who can defend," he wrote in his Paddy Power blog.

"We've got two full-backs now in Leighton Baines and Glen Johnson who are great going forward – but we've got great forwards already.

"Not bringing Ashley Cole was probably a mistake – not so much for his attacking qualities – but more his defensive ones. I think Baines and the whole of the back four have been found out a bit.

"It's been argued that John Terry could have steadied the ship and taken command - but he's not getting any younger either. Ideally what was needed was a young John Terry and a Rio Ferdinand in his prime to marshal the defence."

Gerrard faced criticism on Thursday night following the potentially decisive 2-1 loss to Uruguay having played a part in both of Luis Suarez's goal, but Scholes insists the blame is misguided.

"There's no way you can blame Steven Gerrard for not getting more on the ball from a header in the middle of the park for Luis Suarez's second goal. The defenders didn't sense the danger," he continued.

"Joe Hart has looked a bit shaky too – but we don't really have anyone to replace him. The Liverpool and England captain hasn't had a great tournament by his standards.

"He's not the box-to-box player he once was. It's not easy to keep up those high levels of performance – particularly after the season he's had with Liverpool's title challenge."

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