Hodgson delighted with English spine in United

Roy Hodgson hailed Manchester United's strong English spine as a "major bonus" for the national team as he heaped praise on the Red Devils' Premier League title win.

Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck of Manchester Unite

Sir Alex Ferguson's side wrapped up the league with four games to spare thanks to Monday night's impressive 3-0 victory against Aston Villa.

Wayne Rooney played a starring role from a central midfield position in the win while the likes of Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand and Tom Cleverley have all been crucial figures this season.

England boss Hodgson knows few teams boast such a strong pool of Englishmen and is happy to benefit from United's success.

"I'm realistic in that I don't expect coaches to put teams together for England and I wouldn't dream of suggesting Alex should favour English players over others," he said.

"It's very nice to see a lot of very good English players are coming through thanks to their incredible academy system and they are going to be very important for me.

"That is of course a major bonus.

"It's a particular bonus when I go to watch matches because when I go to see United play, there's a good chance I'll see a number of English players, which unfortunately isn't always the case when I go watch matches."

Hodgson liked what he saw from Rooney in a deeper role.

"I thought Manchester United's first 20 minutes against Aston Villa was as good as any football you're ever going to see in the Premier League," he said.

"I thought Wayne was very influential in the central midfield position and the pass for Robin van Persie was exquisite and the movement of Van Persie, and the ability to receive a ball coming over his shoulder and volley into the net is a very special skill. We know he's got it and he showed it at a crucial moment."

The win secured United's 20th league title and underlined Ferguson's renowned longevity after 26 years at the helm.

"It's incredible," said Hodgson. "I think the most incredible thing about it is being able to do it year after year.

"There's no doubt that there is a certain lack of appetite that comes with winning things. It's very, very difficult to be as hungry for your second title as you were for your first and it must be even harder to be as hungry for your 25th title, or whatever it is now if you take all of Alex's titles together.

"We are talking about someone with incredible ability and an ability to keep himself fresh.

"How many Manchester United teams has he actually constructed in this period of time and this 25 years in which they have won 13 league titles and goodness knows how many cups and European cups?

"There's not much you can say really other than we'd all like to know how he's done it and what the secret is.

"To be frank, if we're going to talk about magicians in football then the only magicians I know are people like Sir Alex Ferguson, who year after year keeps producing incredible performances from his teams and his players and keeps being able to rebuild teams from the ashes of his previous team."

Hodgson on Tuesday unveiled a bust of pioneering former England manager Sir Walter Winterbottom at the national team's St George's Park headquarters in Staffordshire.

"The man was an innovator and it's unbelievably fitting that it's his statue which graces our footballing home," said the current national team coach.

"He brought great stability, consistency and also dignity to the job.

"As far as I'm concerned he was the Godfather behind the ideas of coaching and football development that we all embrace today [Tuesday]."



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