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England must now give youngsters a chance

England boss Roy Hodgson now has to put faith in his highly-rated youngsters

England boss Roy Hodgson now has to put faith in his highly-rated youngsters

England now has no chance of progressing to the last 16 of the World Cup, after losing 2-1 against both Italy and Uruguay in the group stages.

Italy’s shock 1-0 defeat by surprise package Costa Rica yesterday put the final nail in the coffin of the Three Lions World Cup hopes.

End

It might not just be the end of the World Cup, but also the end of a number of international careers for England.

Midfielders Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are well into their 30’s and coming to the end of their careers.

It really would not be a shock if both players called time on their international careers. Gerrard has struggled to make an impact on the competition and once again failed to produce his club form on the international stage.

Some have even suggested that it could also be the end of boss Roy Hodgson’s reign as England boss. However, the English FA have now stated that the former-Fulham boss will remain as the Three Lions boss.

Youngsters

England currently has a crop of promising young players coming through. Hodgson chose a number of them in the World Cup squad, but in truth Hodgson has not been that brave in his team selections.

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling may have started the last two games, but the likes of other inexperienced players like Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana have only enjoyed cameos appearances. England looked more dangerous going forward with the two attacking midfielders on the field. Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere also saw very little action in the first two group games.

The likes of Luke Shaw and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have not even appeared at the finals, although the latter has been struggling with a knee injury.

All of the above inexperienced players are pretty technically gifted and have shown in the Premier League what they can do, yet Hodgson has shown a cautious approach to playing the talented youngsters.

England now needs to use those technically gifted youngsters. When Lallana and Barkley were on the pitch they looked like they could make something positive happen. Barkley especially was always looking for the ball and was never scared to take possession of the ball.

Germany is a good example of blooding good young player’s. Germany boss Joachim Low took a risk by selecting a number of his countries bright young players for the last World Cup and they excelled in South Africa.

Players given their chance in 2010 were the likes of Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller, who are both now vital cogs in a highly-fancied Germany team. England may not have the same volume of young talent coming through, but they do have a number of players worth blooding in the national team.

With expectations low in England ahead of the World Cup this was Hodgson’s chance to unleash the likes of Lallana and Barkley on opposition teams. Instead Hodgson chose to play favourite Danny Welbeck on the left flank.

Welbeck is a willing runner and will get back and help his defenders out. However, his preferred position is up front and he is unlikely to get picked in that position ahead of the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney.

A more adventurous boss may have preferred Lallana or Barkley in the position. It may have given the defence less protection, but England spend far too much time worrying about what opposition teams can do against them, rather than what they can do to the opposition.

Chance

With very little to lose in the last group game against Costa Rica, England boss Roy Hodgson has a chance to give his hungry young lions a chance. Hodgson probably decided to play with caution in the second group game against Uruguay fearing they would be beaten if they went at the South Americans.

Hodgson approached it cautiously and still England was beaten. Had Hodgson given the youngsters a chance from the start at the tournament would the results have been different? Nobody really knows.

However, those youngsters have had very little time on the pitch and England has gone out of the tournament anyway. At least if they were given the chance they would have had a chance to gain valuable experience.

If Hodgson does give a few of those younger England players a go and they do defeat Costa Rica, English fans will be left wondering what might have been had Hodgson been slightly braver in his team selections.

Will Roy Hodgson give England’s youngsters a chance in the Costa Rica game?

Sat 21 June, 2014
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