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Hodgson anticipating 'tough' England run

By Football News



England manager Roy Hodgson says his side must use their upcoming home games to secure their place at the 2014 World Cup.

England currently sit second in Group H, trailing leaders Montenegro by two points having played six of their 10 qualifying fixtures. And Hodgson believes the national team's fate will be decided during their run of fixtures at Wembley Stadium.

"We've got a tough autumn coming up, we haven't sprinted away in the (World Cup qualifying) group," he told the Football Association's official website.

"It's very, very close and we've got to make certain that in the next four qualifying games, three of which are home, we press home our advantage and get to Brazil."

The former Fulham and Liverpool boss also emphasised the need to blood young players, with national team stalwarts such as Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole reaching the twilight of their careers.

"We can't deny that we are in a situation where there is a changing of the guard," he added.

"We've had a very strong group of players going through the last three tournaments, all of whom I think are outstanding players and are still good players today and are still playing in the Premier League. 

"If we're going to raise our heads and look to the future we've got to start giving more responsibility to more of the younger ones who are coming through who have also got great talent and potential. 

"But we're never going to see that potential if we keep on with the old guard so I'm really hoping that some of the players that have come into the team recently and excited us are going to kick on and that we're going to discover one or two more. 

"Not least of all in the Under-21 tournament that's coming up in Israel where I think there are some interesting players in Stuart's squad that could quite easily be in my squad when that tournament has finished."