England boss Roy Hodgson has revealed the reasons why he has picked so many untested youngsters in his World Cup squad.
The Three Lions boss named his 23 for the tournament in Brazil earlier on Monday afternoon, with the likes of Luke Shaw, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley all on the plane to South America.
“Sterling, Henderson, Barkley. They’ve imposed themselves upon me and they’ve played so well and been so effective in their club teams,” he told a Press conference.
“If I had to pick the squad in October it would have looked different. A lot of water has passed since then. You cannot ignore what people are doing week to week or day to day basis for their club sides.
“You don’t pick teams on anything other than what’s happening at any particular time. Your decision is who’s the best man for the job and these players deserve every credit for making certain the international manager can’t ignore them.”
The former Inter tactician then rubbished the old cliché ‘you can’t win anything with kids’.
“Southampton have proved that wrong – they’ve had a very good season. That adage is not as true as it once was.
“This is a 23-man squad – not 11. In that 23 there are an awful lot of caps. We shouldn’t get hung up on some youngsters in there. They are there because I think they deserve to be there.
“I’m not taking anybody there for experience – apart from perhaps Flanagan or Stones.
“Of course I believe the squad can win the World Cup, otherwise what’s the point – but they are empty words and I’ve never understood people who attach to that.
“I’m sure all the Coaches will say they can win it. But if we are going to win it we will have to play very well and prepare very well and the players will have to show their talent otherwise all the belief, optimism counts for nothing.
“We are right to have optimism and hope to work with a group using the positivity from the country and we will try to feed off that and do nothing to let anybody down. Whether that takes us up to the quarter-finals and beyond then who knows.”
On what his starting XI will look like for the game against Italy in Manaus on June 14, Hodgson explained: “There will be regulars who most people will expect to be starters but so much has changes in those 7 months since we qualified.
“There were bit part players who were on the fringes and I’m not certain people will expect them as fringe players any more.
“We have a very exciting group for the front six positions. The back four and goalkeeper seem to be a lot more stable and it would be easier to second guess my selections in that area.”
Finally, the veteran Coach remarked on what he thinks the expectations are for this England team.
“It is hard to quantify expectations. But it would be sad to sit here, as a coach who is excited by the squad, if I didn't believe there were expectations and hopes.
“As an England player you have to accept it's a great honour playing for your country, playing in a World Cup that you've worked hard to get to. Now the opportunity is yours to take possession of the stage. I hope that's what we do.”