World Cup selection headaches for Hodgson
By Football News
England manager Roy Hodgson insists it is 'getting harder every day' to finalise his FIFA World Cup squad as he aims to find a balance.
Hodgson will submit his initial 30-man squad for Brazil 2014 in just under six weeks before selecting his final 23 to FIFA by June 2.
The former Inter and Fulham boss said it was getting tougher for him as the Premier League season progressed.
"The level of choice and the level of difficulty in choosing is getting harder every day," Hodgson told talkSPORT.
"That's good, because about a year ago we were really lamenting the lack of English players playing in the Premier League.
"People were saying 'how can Roy Hodgson pick squads when there's hardly any Englishmen playing?' There's no doubt that I'm going to have some very, very tough choices to make."
The likes of Southampton trio Adam Lallana (25), Jay Rodriguez (24) and Luke Shaw (18), plus Merseyside-based pair Ross Barkley (20) and Raheem Sterling (19) are among the younger players pushing for selection.
Hodgson said he had seen the self-belief of some players lift.
"I see so many games. Between myself, (assistant coach) Ray Lewington and (coach) Gary Neville we cover so many games," he said.
"And all of the top teams I would've seen so many times between December and May. Every week I'm sort of weighing things up.
"In the two years of qualification since Euro 2012 and up to now we're seeing lots of players come through that do have a very optimistic approach – an approach where they believe in themselves and their talent."
But Hodgson warned there were only so many younger players he could take as he looks to find a balance in Brazil.
"When it comes to experience and youth, you have to be careful," he said.
"What you don't know in a tournament is when your injuries are going to come.
"So for example, if you take four to five very young players that you think the experience will do them really good.
"Then, all of a sudden, they have to play through the whole of the tournament because the people that you've taken for them to understudy suddenly get injured. You diminish your chances of doing well at a tournament. It's a very delicate balance."
England will face Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in a tricky Group D at the World Cup.