Hodgson to pay "special" visit to Anfield

England manager Roy Hodgson has been advised to take a trip to Anfield to see for himself the progress being made by several of his World Cup contenders.

Roy Hodgson

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes Anfield could become a breeding ground for future internationals - tipping young defender Jon Flanagan to be the next for a call-up - but he thinks Hodgson should take a closer look at those who are likely to be on the plane to Brazil this summer.

Captain for club and country Steven Gerrard has now got a handle on the holding role outlined for him by Rodgers while Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge have been excellent all season while Raheem Sterling has suddenly hit a rich vein of form.

Add Flanagan to the mix and Rodgers believes he has a core of English players who are more than capable of playing the sort of football which will allow the national team to compete with their rivals.

Hodgson's assistant Ray Lewington was present to watch Saturday's 5-1 demolition of Arsenal and while he could not have failed to have been impressed by the performances of Flanagan, Sterling and Henderson in particular, Rodgers felt it would be an idea for Hodgson to pay a visit sooner rather than later.

"Ray is a trusted lieutenant for Roy and I am sure he will know the level these players are playing at," said Rodgers.

"Everyone knows Steven's qualities but it would be good for Roy to see him in that single pivot because we play with one holding and two attacking mdifielders.

"He has amazed me with the quality he has played in it so quickly.

"When he was playing as the number 10 or advanced midfielder his movement was incredible - he had the movement of a striker in the box - so to flip that and become a playmaker in the other half of the field shows the tactical intelligence he has and how he has a lot to offer.

"Jordan Henderson has shown his tactical development, maturity and leadership qualities while Raheem Sterling, for a kid of that age (19) to be playing at the level he is, with invention, speed and scoring a couple of goals in a big game, has been absolutely outstanding.

"Sturridge speaks for himself, he'll get goals.

"His transformation from being a Chelsea reserve player to being what I consider to be the number nine for England for a World Cup is a good signal for, especially young British players, that if you come to Liverpool you will get your opportunity if your focus is right."

Rodgers said earlier this month he saw no reason why English players could not succeed playing the technically-demanding possession-style of football he has implemented.

"British players were always told they weren't technically or tactically good enough but I set out on a journey to prove that was not the case because they can be and it has been a life's work for me since I started coaching," he added.

"We had coaches in this country who maybe didn't have the faith or nerve to play how maybe Europeans would play but British players can work that way.

"It is the easiest thing in the world to get your goalkeeper to smash the ball as far as you can up the pitch and then when you haven't got the ball everyone drop back in."

Flanagan, a 20-year-old academy graduate, has been deputising for established England right-back Glen Johnson after he was sidelined by injury but prior to that was also utilised on the left of defence.

Rodgers believes that tactical flexibility makes him a candidate to replace Johnson in the national team, although he admits this summer's World Cup may come too soon for the youngster.

"I think it might come too soon for him this year but he has all the qualities to play in that position," said the Reds boss.

"Glen Johnson is in there and Kyle Walker (of Tottenham) has been a regular but if you are playing for a club like Liverpool at the age of 20 and you are producing the performances he has done I think he has shown the potential.

"The key for Jon is consistency, making sure he doesn't think he has cracked it.

"I think he has learned from the last time he was in and out of the team and he has now taken his opportunity and you can see that hunger.

"I have been pleasantly surprised by how tactically good he was playing against (Santi) Cazorla at the weekend if he can do that here in these types of games he can do it at international level."



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