Hodgson's choice as England face minnows Moldova


Hodgson likely to revert back to the old guard. Photo wikimedia/football.uaEngland coach Roy Hodgson has refused to rule out pairing Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard together in midfield for England's World Cup qualifier in Moldova this Friday evening.

The news may come as a blow to fans who had been hoping for a fresh approach with an opportunity being given to youth under the new coach, yet Hodgson seems intent on giving the experienced duo yet another chance: "I want to win football matches and I won't be prepared to throw away players of that quality from the national team until I am sure there are much better players to take their place."

It is a familiar conundrum for England managers down the years who have often been tempted to include the pair on the back of domestic performances that have sadly seldom been repeated at international level despite Liverpool's Gerrard and Chelsea stalwart Lampard having amassed 187 senior caps between them.

Hodgson insists though that there will be a chance for England's youngsters to prove themselves during the qualification campaign: "We are going to need to blood young players by 2014. My hope is that by blooding some of them early doors, they will get the necessary experience."

The England squad for the qualifiers does include some notable young talent including Arsenal's flying winger Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain and promising Chelsea youngster Ryan Bertrand, who Hodgson holds up as proof of changing attitudes to including younger players within the England set-up: "Ryan Bertrand is a good example. We could have left him out... But we were keen to have him with us because maybe in a couple of years, he will play a bigger part."

With Ashley Cole (ankle) and Andy Carroll (hamstring) withdrawing from the squad due to injury, Everton's Leighton Baines and Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck, are expected to be given the nod. This will give England's starting eleven a more youthful complexion in what Hodgson believes could be a tough game in Chisinau: "They (Moldova) are technical players. We have to come to terms with what the stadium's going to be like, what the atmosphere's going to be like, what the pitch is going to be like."

With a home fixture against Ukraine following hot on the heels of this outing Hodgson will be hoping that he gets the mixture between the old guard and England's future stars right in order for England to get their world cup qualifying campaign off to the best possible start.

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