Football

Hodgson has final say on Gerrard

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Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson will not try to protect senior stars like Steven Gerrard when the club's Europa League campaign gets under way this week.

The 62-year-old will decide on Tuesday whether the England captain, and his international team-mates Jamie Carragher, Glen Johnson and new signing Joe Cole, should be included for the third qualifying round tie in Macedonia against Rabotnicki.

"I don't know what to do at this stage," he said. "I will have to liaise with them and (head of sports science) Peter Brukner and make a decision by Tuesday on what sort of team I can put out."

Liverpool's medical team have advised Hodgson it is too soon to use those players who were on World Cup duty after just over a week back in pre-season training.

Hodgson has to weigh up whether it is more risky to leave the task of getting through into the competition proper in the hands of a largely reserve side who have not scored a goal in two warm-up matches.

But if he does select the likes of Gerrard he will at least respect their stature in the game by naming them in the starting line-up rather than keeping them on the bench for an emergency.

Hodgson added: "It is going to be a difficult discussion between myself and Peter because his feeling is we shouldn't use any of them and I am going to be tempted to say I want to use quite a few of them.

"The only players I will take will be the ones that I definitely think will play a valuable part in the game.

"If we are talking about senior players, it would be players prepared to start the game.

"I would not take Steven Gerrard there to play for the last 10 minutes as a substitute."

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Topics:
Europa League
Football
Premier League
Steven Gerrard
Liverpool

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