Roy Hodgson has picked eight players who are under-24 including Luke Shaw and Rahim Sterling, and the England coach has stressed that all the youngsters totally deserve their selection for World Cup 2014.
Hodgson has picked Luke Shaw ahead of Chelsea veteran Ashley Cole while Everton midfielder Ross Barkley is also in alongside Liverpool duo Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson. The England manager has also put his faith in the Arsenal pair of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere. But the coach terms his selection as the “calculated gamble” and claims that the youngsters have “imposed their selection upon me.”
“I’ve heard this a lot,” the England manager said. “What if Leighton Baines got injured, wouldn’t Ashley Cole be theright answer? And, of course, the answer to that is yes. He would be, without a doubt. But Ashley Cole isn’t really a cover player.
“These youngsters have imposed themselves upon me and my thinking because they’ve been so effective and successful for their clubs.
“A lot of water has gone under the bridge since we qualified back in October and you can’t ignore what these players have been doing on a week-to-week basis.
“There are an awful lot of caps in this 23 so we shouldn’t get too hung on the amount of youngsters. But they deserve to be in there. I’m not taking anyone just for the experience.
“I believe the squad can win the World Cup. Otherwise what’s the point in taking part? But if we’re going to win then we have to prepare and play very well.
“This group has got a lot of talent, we all know it, but they have got to show their talent otherwise all the belief, optimism and words count for nothing.
“There is a mood of positivity around us and we’ll work and feed off that. Whether it takes us to the World Cup final who knows but we’ll do our best.”
Barkley, 20, has burst onto the Premier League scene this season and there is a wave of optimism behind the youngster’s explosive ability in front of goal.
“Ross is a very exciting talent and if he can continue at that level then he has a fantastic future in front of him,” Hodgson said.
“But I would hope people are realistic in their expectations of him. I wouldn’t want to put on him the kind of pressure that says he has to score goals like he did against Manchester City, or run 40 yards and beat lots of players – that’s unrealistic.”
Mixed reactions have followed after the selection of English squad. Some pundits have applauded the approach of Hodgson while some have criticized the omission of the likes of Carrick and Ashle Cole.