Roy Hodgson has praised the faith shown in young English players by managers such as Roberto Martinez and Mauricio Pochettino – and said the pair are benefiting from their decisions.
Taking the rare step of addressing an FA Council meeting at Wembley Stadium, the England boss covered a wide range of topics before he opened the floor to questions.
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Hodgson spoke of the positive atmosphere among his squad and staff and the optimism ahead of this summer’s World Cup.
He also took the opportunity to praise the managers of clubs such as Everton and Southampton, who have backed young players and reaped the benefits as a result.
Hodgson said: “One thing that has helped me with regards to younger players are people like Roberto Martinez being quite prepared to leave out Leon Osman – who is a terrific fella, an exceptional player and a wonderful club servant – for young Ross Barkley – that’s a very strong decision.
“And the same goes for Mauricio Pochettino – who has given chances to players like James Ward-Prowse, Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw – that shows a certain bravery and it has definitely been rewarded.”
Following the October wins over Montenegro and Poland, England qualified for the World Cup unbeaten, and Hodgson said it is important he and his team ensure the feel-good factor generated in the autumn continues into the summer.
He added: “I think at the moment we’re benefiting from a very positive atmosphere. I’m mixing with a lot of people and finding that there’s enormous hope and enthusiasm and positivity regarding this World Cup – I certainly feel it from the squad.
“It’s going to be tough for me because the pool of players that I have to choose from has got a lot bigger. There’s been a lot of very interesting younger players that have come through that are not just knocking on the door anymore, but hammering on the door.
“If you saw the reaction after the Poland game – you saw the enthusiasm that swept over everybody and I don’t think it was just us, the people involved in the football – it was across the nation.”
Closing proceedings, Leader of Council Barry Bright added: “Can I say on behalf of the Council that it’s a privilege that an England manager comes in and speaks so openly to Council.
“Thank you to Roy and let’s hope we’ll have a really exciting summer and that the country will lift itself on the back of some super results and we are extremely grateful as a Council that you have come here today and given us your time.”