Hodgson expected to give youth a chance

Roy Hodgson is expected to give youth a chance when he names his squad for England's upcoming friendlies against Chile and Germany on Thursday.


After sealing qualification to the World Cup last month with a win over Poland, Hodgson vowed to use the November friendlies to field some of his less experienced players.

The England manager name-checked Andros Townsend, Chris Smalling, Daniel Sturridge and Jack Wilshere as players he would like to see more of prior to the World Cup.

Wilshere is doubtful for the upcoming double-header because of an ankle injury, but the other three players are likely to get a run out.

Once again, the spotlight will fall on Townsend, who announced his arrival on the world stage last month by starring in the victory over Montenegro which edged England to within touching distance of Brazil.

The winger performed admirably amid a hostile atmosphere against Poland four days after his debut and he has since maintained his form at Tottenham, where he has become a regular for the first time.

The 22-year-old's performances have been so good that England's most-capped outfield player David Beckham is now a big admirer.

"He is playing with a freedom that is great to see," Beckham told Sky Sports News.

"He is a great person for a young player to look at and say 'it's not always an easy ride'.

"Andros has come out of it and helped us (get to) the World Cup."

Beckham is right. It has not been an easy ride for Townsend. Last summer the Spurs winger was banned from football for a month after admitting breaking betting rules.

The midfielder then inadvertently found himself at the centre of a race row involving Hodgson after a bizarre half-time team talk during the 2-0 win over Poland.

Hodgson reportedly used an old NASA phrase to direct his players to get the ball to Townsend during the tense match. "Feed the monkey" was the metaphor he apparently used. That led to many unwanted headlines surrounding the England manager and he will be keen to move on from the saga when he faces the media in Thursday's press conference at Wembley.

The England boss will also face questions about out-of-form Joe Hart, who could be replaced by Fraser Forster for the clash against Chile a week on Friday, and the game with Germany four days later.

Captain Steven Gerrard may only get limited game time due to a hip problem and Michael Carrick could be left out because of a calf injury.

That leaves Hodgson with the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at 19-year-old Everton midfielder Ross Barkley.

West Ham youngster Ravel Morrison is another midfielder who is pushing for a call-up following his impressive start to the season for West Ham.

Danny Welbeck has been carrying a knee injury while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott are not yet back to full fitness, so there is the possibility that Wilfried Zaha, Raheem Sterling and West Brom's Saido Berahino could also be involved.

Tottenham's Aaron Lennon and Liverpool full-back Glen Johnson are available after recovering from their injury problems.

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