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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Hodgson backs youth after U-21 romp

England manager Roy Hodgson insists the Under-21 side's 6-0 thrashing of Scotland on Tuesday night helped to dismiss claims that the country is struggling at youth level.

Raheem Sterling has represented England at under-17 and under-19 level
Raheem Sterling netted England's second goal.

Goals to Nathan Redmond, Raheem Sterling, Connor Wickham, Ross Barkley, Jonjo Shelvey and Tom Carroll sealed the friendly win as Hodgson took charge of the youngsters.

Brewin: A rivalry renewed

And he appeared to allude to comments from former Three Lions skipper Rio Ferdinand, who suggested England lacks an "identity" at all levels.

The former West Bromwich Albion boss believes the rout was as much a confidence boost as it was a stern message to critics of English football's setup.

"Certainly it has put the statements that English football has no talented players, and that we have nothing coming through, to bed tonight," Hodgson said. "Hopefully a lot of people who have made the bold statements will have seen the performances and they will struggle to tell me that some of those boys out there have got no future, no technique and no ability.

Ahead of England's clash with Scotland on Wednesday night, Hodgson admits he was impressed with a majority of the Under-21s side and is confident a number of players can easily step into the first team.

"Without a shadow of a doubt," he said. "They really did take their chances with both hands, and a lot of those players would certainly not be out of place in the senior team - albeit, I must say, from working with the seniors for the last couple of days, I have been pretty impressed with the quality of the technique and the desire and the ambition we have there."

Hodgson refused to state his intentions for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney and revealed the players are still unaware of who will take place in the starting line-up.

"We have obviously given it a lot of thought, but I will give it a bit more thought tomorrow because I have not spoken to the team about that," he added.

"We had our meeting before I came here today and that was a meeting based on our pre-match analysis of Scotland, the kind of match we can expect from them and the type of players we will be coming up against. But to be frank, I don't think the players have any idea what I intend to do and I'm not prepared to tell anyone else before I've told them."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.


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