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Hodgson unsure on best England lineup

England manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed he does not yet know what starting line-up he will name for his first game of this summer's World Cup finals against Italy.

Roy Hodgson named his England squad for the World Cup on Monday -- with Ashley Cole the notable absentee.
Roy Hodgson says England are a long way from naming their starting XI.

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Hodgson confirmed at his squad announcement earlier this month that the make-up of his 23-man party travelling to Brazil this summer has 'changed considerably' since his side secured qualification last October and it seems he is still formulating his game plan for this summer's tournament.

Now he has conceded he has yet to settle on his best first eleven, as he will use warm up games against Peru, Ecuador and Honduras to fine tune his plans ahead of a World Cup date with Italy in Manaus on June 14th.

"I have many ideas but no firm ideas," said Hodgson, before he was asked whether he had his ideal team in mind a little over three week before the World Cup gets underway and he responded: "Not yet. I don't need to do that yet.

"We are a long way off. I don't know how the players are going to be performing in three or four weeks' time. I don't know how their fitness will be either."

Hodgson is planning to attend Italy's warm-up match against the Republic of Ireland at Fulham's Craven Cottage ground on May 31 in London, but he admitted his plans to take on the Azzurri will not be hugely affected by that friendly international.

"I shall be there, but I shall be very careful with my judgements because those games are notoriously tricky," added the England boss.

"You either come away being very impressed or unimpressed and then the team you meet a few weeks later in a competitive game can be a totally different kettle of fish to the one you have seen in the friendlies.

"So I will be watching it and getting a few more ideas on the players I feel I know quite well anyway, but I won't be making very bold judgements as competitive matches are very different."

England are currently at their training camp in Vale do Lobo in Vilamoura, Portugal, with Hodgson confirming the trip to the luxury holiday resort is very much a working venture rather than relaxation for his players.

"We are doing a lot of video work in Portugal," stated Hodgson. "We will be showing the players in units aspects of the Italian game and how that affects us and what we are going to be wanting to do.

"We are not doing it as individual players. We are talking about how our midfield is going to attack or defend. It will be all the midfielders and not just the four or five who we might choose."


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