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Hodgson thrilled with next generation

28 November 2012 00:15

England manager Roy Hodgson says he is delighted with the progress some of his younger players have made this year.

So far under Hodgson, players such as Tom Cleverley (23), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (19), Theo Walcott (23), Raheem Sterling (17), Wilfried Zaha (20) and Steven Caulker (20) have been selected for the national side.

Speaking at the Soccerex Global Convention in Rio, Hodgson said all signs pointed towards a bright future for the team.

"Very happy, they've over-achieved (the young players). Over-achieved is probably the wrong word - they've exceeded expectations," Hodgson said.

"When you bring young players in most people are sceptical and you tend to look at the players that they may be replacing at that particular moment in time and think he hasn't got the experience of the other player, he hasn't got the ability of the other player.

"And yet they've actually shown everybody that's not necessarily the case because quite a few of the youngsters that have come into the team have really played well and really taken to international football like a duck to water.

"What we've got to hope we can do now is get them more games between now and 2014.

"Also, they've got to get more Premier League football under their belts because they are playing for big teams and the competition for places in those big teams is not always going to be give them a nailed-on spot in the team."

Hodgson's side will face Brazil in a friendly at Rio's famed Maracana Stadium next June, and the England boss said taking on the 2014 World Cup hosts in their home country would be a good experience for his men.

"Well it's just a great game to start off with - you'd be happy playing Brazil in Rio next year even if the next World Cup was being held miles and miles away," Hodgson said.

"The fact that it's being held here gives you a dress rehearsal if you are taking part, that's an added bonus.

"But the game itself is enough to stand up in its own right for us to say 'what a good game to have'. In fact we play them at Wembley in a friendly (in February) as well so we've got a double-header against Brazil before 2014."

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