Roy Hodgson insists he will pick 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, 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,” the former West Brom manager said.
“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.”
While Hodgson said that Lampard can help drive England to the World Cup, 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 helps us get to Brazil and then be a contender,” Hodgson said.
“It (Lampard’s 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.”