COMMENT: Roy Hodgson deserves applause for being bold with his World Cup squad for Brazil

Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw

First published in Football

WELL done, Roy Hodgson.

The England squad he has named this afternoon for next month’s World Cup in Brazil simply has to be applauded.

And that’s not a Southampton-based journalist responding to the fact that three Saints players have been named in the 23-man squad.

Of course, it’s fantastic that Saints’ memorable season has been reflected in the call-ups for Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert.

In the eyes of the St Mary’s fanbase, Lambert just had to be picked ahead of Andy Carroll, and Shaw’s youthful promise deserved to earn him the nod over the vastly experienced Ashley Cole.

But elsewhere, there is room for optimism.

The squad is young, of that there is no doubt, and it does not contain a huge amount of world class performers.

It is not a squad packed full of experienced tournament footballers either.

Remarkably, only five men remain from the last England World Cup finals squad chosen by Fabio Capello in 2010 (when Saints, lest we forget, were a third division club).

Those five are Wayne Rooney, Glen Johnson, Frank Lampard, James Milner and goalkeeper Joe Hart.

What Hodgson does have in his favour is potential.

Three cheers to the manager - often perceived as a conservative boss – for selecting the precocious skills of Everton’s Ross Barkley.

Could he be ready to have the same sort of impact on Brazil 2014 as Paul Gascoigne did on Italia 90?

Shaw, of course, is not the only teenager in the 23-man party.

Three cheers also for picking Raheem Sterling, the 19-year-old pacy Liverpool midfielder who has lit up the Premier League this season.

Ex-Saints academy winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, still only 20, is another of Hodgson’s youthful picks.

This squad might not win the World Cup in Brazil, or even be realistic challengers.

But the manager has picked a squad very much with Euro 2016and the next World Cup in four years time in mind.

Those tournaments could be the ones where Barkley, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sterling, Shaw, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge are at the peak of their game.

They will all learn a lot from going to Brazil, though.

The England manager deserves plaudits for his choices.

It is not as if he’s picked an under-21 squad.

The likes of Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard provide the necessary experience.

Well done, Roy.

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