Old guard key to England future, claims Hodgson

The Three Lions' manager says the experienced players in his squad are important, and their personality is vital for the development of the emerging batch of young talent
England manager Roy Hodgson says that his experienced players are vital in the role that they play in helping his young stars to reach their potential.

The Three Lions' 2-1 win over Brazil at Wembley earlier in February showcased some of the nation's bright young talent with the likes of Jack Wilshere, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck further establishing themselves in the squad.

And Hodgson was pleased to see his youngsters benefiting from time spent with veterans like Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.

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When asked which young players for whom he had big plans, Hodgson told Gazetta dello Sport: "Wilshere, since his debut, everyone thought he would be a fantastic player. Then he lost more than a year due to injury, but he is now back to thrill the public. Our future depends also on his feet.

"Surely [Daniel] Sturridge, [Chris] Smalling, Cleverley, Welbeck, [Theo] Walcott ... in order to grow, however, they will need to have near them the personality of people like Rooney, Lampard and Gerrard. We are building our future seriously."

The 65-year-old believes that a feel-good factor has returned to the English game, which he puts down to a number of reasons, from the national team once again showing promise to the new training centre at St George's Park.

"In the air there is optimism that is good for our growth, especially for young players," Hodgson added.

"We have made a big step with St George's Park, the center where we train now. England did not have a center associated with the national team. It's like Coverciano in Italy.

"Since I became coach last year, people seem happy and I believe it is also because England now has an English coach."