Boss Hodgson happy to have selection posers
ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson has welcomed the selection problems handed to him after Friday night's victory over San Marino as he prepares to pick a team to face Poland tonight.
England's 5-0 win at Wembley came despite the absence of a number of Hodgson's more experienced players, and he now has some thinking to do ahead of the trip to Warsaw.
"We try to utilise the squad for the two games, and maybe keep some players back from the San Marino game," said Hodgson.
"We have a lot of players who didn't play against San Marino available, so have quite a good option. Unfortunately, we didn't recover Frank Lampard or Ryan Bertrand, but other than that we have a full squad to choose from and quite a few players who didn't take part at all against San Marino."
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Leighton Baines impressed starting ahead of Ashley Cole, while Danny Welbeck made the most of getting the nod over Jermain Defoe with two goals in the win.
"There are quite a few (selection decisions) and that's good to have," said Hodgson. "I'd prefer not to quantify them or put them in any order, but it's good that the players who came in against San Marino who people did not see as first choice played well.
"You do get more a selection headache, but all coaches will tell you selection headaches are what we're after."
Several youngsters produced star turns against the European minnows on Friday night.
Welbeck bagged a brace, while Arsenal wideman Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain capped a fine performance by scoring the final goal.
However, Hodgson was keen to impress upon the younger generation that they must earn their place in the international side by proving themselves with their respective clubs.
"If they want to take over then they'll have to play very well because some of the experienced players are still very keen to play football at this level for as long as possible," Hodgson said.
"They'll have to make certain they are better than the ones who have been doing the job. It is nice to know we are producing some players now who will challenge, will continue to improve, will mature with time and the matches they can play.
"My only fear is the usual one of hoping these talents can get enough game time.
"It's always nice to have experience in your team and it's also quite nice sometimes to have some younger players in the team.
"Experience is important and we do have, at the moment, a good balance between youth and experience but the key against Poland is nothing more complicated than playing well."
Hodgson has been pleased with England's performances away from Wembley since he took the reins earlier this year, but has promised they are not about to rest on their laurels.