England boss happy with what he saw from his side against Sweden
is hoping for big things next year after being impressed by some new faces in Stockholm on Wednesday night.
But for a virtuoso display from the prodigious Zlatan Ibrahimovic
, England may have returned from Sweden with a better result than the 4-2 reversal
However, the Three Lions boss was pleased with what he saw from his side boasting a record-equalling six debutants.
Danny Welbeck and Steven Caulker, one of the players making his bow, netted the goals for the visitors.
The night, though, truly belonged to four-goal Ibrahimovic and the Swedes, who were celebrating the opening of the Friends Arena.
"Despite the defeat, I take a large degree of optimism from this game," said Hodgson.
"Strangely, I would have been more disappointed if we'd sneaked a draw but looked totally outplayed or uncomfortable.
"One or two players really took their chance and showed that in 2013 we might have a bigger squad than we once thought."
He added: "In the past we seem to have been very reliant on a group of players who had to play at all times without an awful lot of support.
"Now there's more competition for places and certainly more help for the Gerrards and Rooneys."
"I'm in a much better position when it comes to assessing players and knowing what I can get out of an England team than I was on 13 May when I came into the job from West Brom and went straight off to the Euros," Hodgson said.
"It's been a very good learning curve."
England's next game kicks off an exciting year of fixtures as The FA celebrates its 150th Anniversary.
Hodgson's side meet Brazil at Wembley Stadium on 6 February and tickets will go on sale soon, so keep coming back here or follow @FA on Twitter to make sure you don't miss out......