Hodgson lays down challenge to his young lions

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In the wake of England qualifying for next summer's World Cup, Roy Hodgson has challenged some of the rising stars of English football to force their way into his thinking.

Hours before England's crucial 2-0 victory over Poland last night the under 21's produced an emphatic 5-0 victory over Lithuania with both Ravel Morrison and Saido Berahino grabbing a brace.

The pair have recevied rave reviews for their performances for both club and country so far this season but Hodgson say's they have a lot of work to do if they are to be on the plane to Brazil next summer.

The Three Lions boss said: "They could (be selected), but at the moment their first task is to get past the youngsters we already have.

"Ravel has done very well as has Saido, but on the other hand Daniel Sturridge has been playing for the national team and Ross Barkley has been very, very impressive in training. If he had played for the U21s he'd be getting the sort of rave reviews that Ravel and Saido have been getting. It won't be easy for them."

Hodgson has been keen to integrate younger players into his England side since taking the job shortly before Euro 2012, with the latest breakthrough, Andros Townsend, producing two excellent performances in the World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland.

Despite his eagerness to mix youth with experience, Hodgson has stressed his delight at seeing a number of his younger players not only featuring regularly for their club sides, but being vital members of the team.

He said: "Luckily I've had players who are not only playing for their clubs but are important players. Sturridge was getting excellent reviews for Liverpool and has brought that with him and done it for us. Danny Welbeck and Andros Townsend, Jack Wilshere and Kyle Walker are the same and long may that continue."

While some sections of the media have called for Hodgson to put his faith in youngsters next summer, the England boss expressed the need to mix youth with experience, he added: "There is no doubt that young players are very exciting and our future, but for success in the tournament, we're going to need the Lampards, Gerrards, Rooneys and Coles because the young players feed off them."

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World Cup
England Football
Saido Berahino
Andros Townsend

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