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Sep 7, 2012

England youngsters impress Hodgson

England manager Roy Hodgson praised the performances of youngsters Tom Cleverley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as the Three Lions began their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 5-0 rout of Moldova.

• JT injury scare

Manchester United's Cleverley and Arsenal's Oxlade-Chamberlain both made a significant contribution to England's biggest away win since 1993 to impress the manager as he begins to build a squad for the 2014 finals in Brazil.

However, the duo were overshadowed by Frank Lampard, 34, who scored England's first two goals and Hodgson warned them they will have to work hard to oust his old guard.

"I was really pleased with Tom and Alex," Hodgson said. "Tom stepped into that position and looks at home there. It's easy to see why Sir Alex Ferguson picks him so often in the United team.

"It's nice to see these young players taking their chances and showing they merit a place in the squad. But the old guard is making certain they don't get too much of a look-in."

On this occasion Hodgson meant Lampard, who has now scored 25 goals for his country - one more than Sir Geoff Hurst.

"Frank was excellent," Hodgson said. "Quality is permanent, and that's proved itself time and time again.

"He might not always play to the top of his game, because football is football, but you're better off going into games having that quality on the field."

Jermain Defoe added another before half-time, with James Milner and Leighton Baines increasing England's advantage over a poor Moldova outfit before the end.

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