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England attacking riches delight Hodgson

England manager Roy Hodgson hailed the attacking resources at his disposal after naming his squad to take on Germany and Netherlands this month.

Hodgson selected five forwards – Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge, Jamie Vardy, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck – in his 24-man squad, with captain Wayne Rooney still to return to the fold when he has recovered from a knee injury.

England will play world champions Germany in Berlin on March 26, before welcoming Netherlands to Wembley three days later as they prepare for Euro 2016.

Liverpool’s Sturridge is in line for a first appearance since September 2014 after an injury-interrupted campaign and Arsenal attacker Welbeck, who has also been out through injury, is set to feature for the first time since March last year.

“It’s always nice to announce a squad when you have got some riches in front of you, but we need to produce on the pitch,” Hodgson said.

“You need a very strong squad and versatility for a tournament. We have got six very good and different strikers including Wayne Rooney.

“It will be interesting to see how it is with Daniel, he hasn’t been with us for a long time. But we won’t be looking to take any extra special care with him. 

“I just hope he’s got over the period he’s had over the last year and a half, and can be the same player we had in spring 2014.

“And I think Danny Welbeck looks good and sharp – I know that Arsene [Wenger] is happy with the way he’s come back.”

Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater also earned a first international call-up and Hodgson was full of praise for the 26-year-old ahead of two crucial preparation matches.

“What he’s done has been evident to everybody,” said Hodgson. “He’s had a fantastic season in a team that has had a fantastic season, but even last year we were aware of him.

“In that area the competition is quite fierce, but I thought it was a good opportunity to see if he can reproduce the quality that he’s shown for Leicester.

“We have a base and a platform for an England team to do very well. Hopefully in the summer, but – if not – then in the years to come.

“I will be closer to knowing what the squad is after these matches. The last two years have taught me a lot and shown that we have some potential in this group of players to become a good team. 

“We are certainly going to be put to a stern test and I will be in a better position to make the important decisions I need to make in May.

“There are players outside this squad who could easily have been included. We are looking at a large group. The door is open.”

Thu 17 Mar, 2016
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