Hodgson hopeful over Parker and Gerrard

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England manager Roy Hodgson will make a late decision on midfield duo Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker, as he continues to monitor their condition ahead of Friday's Group D clash against Sweden.

Concerns over the long-term fitness of the 31-year-old Tottenham star have resurfaced after Parker was withdrawn in the 1-1 draw with France on Monday.

Three Lions skipper, Gerrard, lasted the full 90 minutes, but following the hard shift put in by the Liverpool ace, he too is being watched closely ahead of the next fixture.

"Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard are both over 30 and had to work really hard," explained Hodgson, as he reflected on the draw in Donetsk.

"But I'm sure I'm not going to be the only coach wondering 'can they do it every four days?' about their players. That is what tournament football is about.

"What we've got to make certain of, is that if they can't, or start to show signs of fatigue, that others are ready to go in and do exactly the same job."

Parker is confident he will recover in time to face the Swedes, and although he admitted the sweltering conditions have taken its toll on all the players, they are still raring to go again.

"Myself and Steven (Gerrard) just have to keep going," he said. "We have to, don't we? If selected, I'm sure we can keep going.

"There's not a lot of cover in midfield, but I'm sure we'll be fine, and we have got other boys who can come in."

England have been praised for their resilient display against a French side that is now unbeaten in 22 games, and Hodgson revealed he was delighted with the desire and commitment shown by his players.

As attention now turns to the next game, the former West Brom boss admitted he may find it difficult to make any changes to the side that stuck to their task and performed so well on Monday.

"I will have to assess the freshness of my team and see whether they are able to do that again," he added.

"My gut feeling, if we have a good recovery day on Tuesday, a sensible training day on Wednesday and sensible recovery day on Thursday, is that it will be very hard for me to leave people out.

"If we said 'we're going to give you a rest because it's too much to play two games in four days' some of them would have us up against the wall."

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Tottenham Hotspur
Scott Parker
Steven Gerrard

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