Hodgson backs England veterans for 2014

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Football News

England boss Roy Hodgson insists squad veterans like John Terry and Steven Gerrard will not be sacrificed when he overhauls his Euro 2012 team.

Hodgson is planning to make a number of changes before England's first friendly against Italy on August 15, as he builds towards World Cup qualification for Brazil 2014.

But the England coach has backed his experienced players to continue to play an important role alongside the fresh faces.

England captain Steven Gerrard, who will turn 34 before the World Cup in Brazil, has already indicated he wants to stay on as skipper, while Chelsea pair John Terry and Ashley Cole both enjoyed good tournaments despite the quarter-final exit.

And Hodgson insists there will still be a place in the squad for the old guard, even when the likes of Jack Wilshere, Chris Smalling and Daniel Sturridge return to the team in the future.

"They have given me every reason to believe they are very anxious to continue," said the England boss. "John Terry has been excellent, as has Ashley [Cole], as has Steven [Gerrard]. So I've not even thought of asking the question: 'Will you continue?' Because they would have to knock me over with a feather if they came to me and said 'I'm not'."

Hodgson's side begin their World Cup qualifying campaign in Moldova on September 7, before facing Euro 2012 Group D opponents Ukraine at Wembley on September 11.

And the England boss even indicated that the door remained open for Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard, pointing to the German national team as a good example of managing the right blend of youth and experience.

"Everyone has seen how well Germany have kicked on since 2006," said Hodgson. "They have brought in younger players and the older ones are still performing to a good level. We have to take heart from that."

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Ashley Cole
John Terry
Steven Gerrard

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