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May 14, 2013

Hodgson plans 'changing of the guard'

Roy Hodgson has signalled his intention to phase out England's old guard as he prepares to usher in the new generation.

Hodgson, who took charge of England prior to Euro 2012, has kept Steven Gerrard, 32, as his captain, while Frank Lampard, 34, has played a part in qualification for the 2014 World Cup and Rio Ferdinand, also 34, was recently offered a recall, though he was ultimately compelled to turn it down.

John Terry, 32, who announced his retirement from international football in September last year, had also been linked with a return to England duty.

However, Hodgson has indicated that, at this point, the emphasis needs to switch to younger players.

"We can't deny that there is a changing of the guard," Hodgson told FATV. "We've had a very strong group of players going through the last three tournaments.

"They are all outstanding players who are still good players today and are all still playing in the Premier League, but if we are going to raise our heads and look to the future we have to start giving more responsibility to some of the younger ones who are coming through.

"We've got tremendous talent and great potential but we're never going to see that potential if we keep on with the old guard."

Hodgson's tenure has seen the likes of Raheem Sterling, Wilfried Zaha, Carl Jenkinson, Jake Livermore and Jonjo Shelvey make their international debuts, and he plans to keep a keen eye on Stuart Pearce's Under-21 squad as they take part in this summer's European Championship finals in Israel.

"I'm really hoping that some of the players who have come into the team recently and excited us are going to kick-on and that we're going to discover one or two more," he said. "There are some interesting players in Stuart's squad for the summer which could quite easily be in my squad when that tournament's finished."

England face a battle to qualify for the 2014 World Cup as they currently sit two points behind Group H leaders Montenegro.

With Moldova, Montenegro and Poland yet to visit Wembley, though, Hodgson remains upbeat about his team's chances.

"We've got a tough autumn coming up and we've got to make sure in the next qualifying games, three of the four are at home, that we press home our advantage and get to Brazil," he added.

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