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Hodgson to shuffle his pack
6:00am Thursday 27th February 2014 in Sport
England manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed that he will pick an experimental squad for the final friendly before he names his party for Brazil.
The World Cup may be over two months away, but, following the announcement at Wembley at 3pm today, it will become apparent which players are in Hodgson’s most immediate thoughts when it comes to his 23-man squad for Brazil.
The 66-year-old will name a large squad – of around 30 players – for next Wednesday’s friendly against Denmark in London.
And, given that there are no more international matches scheduled before Hodgson names his provisional World Cup squad, a lot is at stake.
Having endured back-to-back Wembley defeats to Chile and Germany last November, a third successive loss would not be good for morale.
But that will not stop Hodgson trying new things out in the friendly.
“There will be an element of experimentation,” he said.
“All friendly matches have the same purpose. There is an element of trying to make certain that if you do have some ideas, perhaps tactical ones, this could be a good occasion to try them out.
“And on this particular occasion we will name a bigger squad than we normally do.”
Shaw has enjoyed a superb season at Saints and, even though the left-back is just 18 years old, Hodgson is a big fan.
“Luke Shaw is a player who could quite easily play for England, not only in the future but today,” Hodgson said.
There has even been talk of an outside chance of a first call-up for Shaw’s Saints teammate Nathaniel Clyne, too, as Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker is suffering from a hip injury.
Liverpool’s Jon Flanagan is another intriguing possibility for Hodgson in that position.