Hodgson monitoring World Cup hopefuls

England manager Roy Hodgson will leave no stone unturned over the next five months as he tries to get the best idea of who he should take to the World Cup.

Manager Roy Hodgson of England talks with Wayne Ro

Although the tournament may seem a long way off, the clock is ticking for England's players to prove to Hodgson that they deserve to be in his 23-man World Cup squad when it is named on June 2.

The next few months will be the most important period of Hodgson's professional life too.

The former Liverpool and Fulham boss has had a near 40-year-long career in management, but taking his own country to the World Cup is his biggest mission by far.

The 66-year-old, speaking in his first interview of 2014, therefore wants to cover the length and breadth of the country to assess the best players available to him.

"We follow the games every week. There aren't any Premier League matches that are not covered," Hodgson told FA TV.

"(Coaches) Ray Lewington, Gary Neville, and myself in particular cover normally at least five or six of the top Premiership matches over the weekend, so I have no worries about not knowing enough about the players."

England have just one friendly before Hodgson names his provisional 30-man squad on May 13.

That comes against Denmark on March 5 - just four days after a weekend of Premier League matches that includes the Manchester derby.

Hodgson wants to keep in contact with his potential squad candidates, and their clubs, to make sure he has the best possible information regarding their form and fitness.

"One of things that interests me more is trying to get more contact with the players," Hodgson added.

"The game in March only gives us a couple of days. There are matches on the Sunday and we play on the Wednesday, so it doesn't exactly give us a lot of time then.

"One of our challenges is to try and make sure we liaise with the clubs, get around to the clubs and get a chance to meet with the coaches, meet with the players, just get an update and a chance to refresh the players' memories about what we look like and how we sound."

England start their World Cup campaign against Italy in Manaus on June 14 before they take on Uruguay and Costa Rica.

The draw for the finals, which took place in December, brought the World Cup back into the public conscience, and the turning of the new year has brought Hodgson renewed excitement about the tournament.

"I am very excited," he said.

"It is the biggest tournament, really. It is every four years, an incredible world event and this year with it being in Brazil, with all that Brazil represents in football terms, it adds spice to the occasion, there is no question about that.

"First of all, you go through quite a difficult 14 to 16 months making certain that you get there and of course when you get there it is a very, very exciting proposition because you know now your place is booked.

"We've had the draw now. We know who we are playing against and where we are playing, so there are very exciting times ahead."



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