Hodgson insists age is no barrier for England

The 65-year-old national team boss has stated that qualifying for the World Cup is his immediate concern, and he will select players based on form and fitness rather than age
Roy Hodgson stated that when it comes to selecting England squads, he will be picking players based on ability rather than age in order to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The 65-year-old manager started Michael Carrick and Frank Lampard in central midfield in England's 2-1 friendly victory against Italy on Wednesday night, and sees no reason why the pair should not retain their places in the team, providing they manage their fitness well.

"Age is not a crucial factor when it comes to a footballer," he told reporters.

"It is how good he is, how fit he is and how capable he is of doing the work required.

"Players are looked after so well in their clubs now with the rehabilitation and recuperation, it is only really major injuries that can stop them.

"Michael and Frank are still doing what they did at 19 but with the added advantage of having all the experience, quality and ability that matches and experience give you."

Hodgson said that despite the uncertainty over older players' futures, he is more concerned with the immediate future - namely the 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine in September.

"At the moment, I prefer just to concentrate on our qualifying matches.

"In two years' time they might still be flying. On the other hand, they might have retired, so I don't even bother to look ahead."

Hodgson spoke of his time managing older players in Finland's national team in relation to Lampard's age.

"I remember having Jari Litmanen and Sami Hyypia with Finland, one was 38, the other 34, playing in a side whose average age was around 31," he said.

"Sami was a very similar player at 34 to when he was 19.

"Frank [Lampard] is a very fit lad.

"He is one of those players who plays a lot of matches one after another without injury."

While Hodgson said that Lampard can help drive England on to the finals, he also warned that there are no guarantees of a place in the squad as a reward.

"I am rather hoping [Lampard] will keep fit, playing well and first of all [that he] helps us get to Brazil and then be a contender.

"It [his age] is not something that concerns me at this moment in time.

"It might if we qualify and either he is not playing well or showing signs of being past it."