Football - Hodgson backs players after rout

Roy Hodgson feels England Under-21s' performance in their 6-0 rout of Scotland has sent a defiant message to those who have criticised the Three Lions youth set-up.

PA Sport
Football - Hodgson backs players after rout
.

View photo

Roy Hodgson was impressed with the England Under-21s at Bramall Lane

With both the England Under-20 and Under-21 sides having disappointing tournament campaigns this summer, there have been plenty of questions asked about the development of the country's young players.

Following the under-21s' poor European Championship in Israel - where they were beaten in all three of their games without scoring a goal from open play - their manager Stuart Pearce lost his job, and with the post still vacant, seniors boss Hodgson took charge of the team on a one-off basis for this contest.

He called upon players for the fixture from both the squad that had been in Israel and the under-20s group who managed to register only two points in three matches at their World Cup in Turkey.

And after watching what was subsequently produced in the friendly at Bramall Lane, Hodgson said: "Certainly it has put the statements that English football has no talented players, and that we have nothing coming through, to bed.

"Hopefully a lot of people who have made the bold statements will have seen the performances and they will struggle to tell me that some of those boys out there have got no future, no technique and no ability."

In a game where the Scots appeared capable of putting up little resistance, one of the players from the Israel campaign opened the scoring in the third minute in Nathan Redmond, and after Raheem Sterling (38) made it 2-0, another in Connor Wickham added the Young Lions' third goal five minutes after the break.

There was then a delightful long-range effort from one more of the contingent from the Israel tournament, Jonjo Shelvey, sandwiched between strikes from two substitutes, Ross Barkley - who featured for the Under-20s in Turkey - and Tom Carroll.

Asked if he felt some of the players might have a chance of being involved in the next senior friendly, Hodgson, who has been also getting the full Three Lions squad ready for their clash with Scotland at Wembley on Wednesday, said: "Without a shadow of a doubt.

"They really did take their chances with both hands, and a lot of those players would certainly not be out of place in the senior team - albeit, I must say, from working with the seniors for the last couple of days, I have been pretty impressed with the quality of the technique and the desire and the ambition we have there."

Hodgson was giving little away about the chance of Wayne Rooney starting the senior friendly.

Asked if he had made any decisions about who would start, and specifically questioned as to whether Manchester United striker Rooney would be in the line-up, Hodgson said: "We have obviously given it a lot of thought, but I will give it a bit more thought tomorrow because I have not spoken to the team about that.

"We had our meeting before I came here today and that was a meeting based on our pre-match analysis of Scotland, the kind of match we can expect from them and the type of players we will be coming up against.

"But to be frank, I don't think the players have any idea what I intend to do and I'm not prepared to tell anyone else before I've told them."

The only real negative point for England Under-21s came shortly before the interval when midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah sustained an injury from a Tony Watt tackle and had to depart the field on a stretcher.

On Chalobah's condition, Hodgson said: "It was a nasty one and we feared for him, but we think it's a kick to the side of the knee. It will be a sore one. But we don't think there is any ligament damage or anything there."

Giving his take on the match, Scotland Under-21s boss Billy Stark said: "It was a chastening experience. I have been in football long enough to know that however you approach a game, you can never be absolutely sure. But I never saw that coming."

View comments (0)