Hodgson tabs youth to lead Three Lions in Brazil


The Sports Network

London, England (SportsNetwork.com) - England manager Roy Hodgson named his 23-man squad for this summer's World Cup on Monday, with an emphasis on youth over experience.

Of the 23 players named to the squad for the Three Lions, eight are under the age of 24, while veteran defender Ashley Cole was left off the team and subsequently announced his retirement from international football.

Ross Barkley, Luke Shaw, Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Phil Jones, Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson, and Danny Welbeck will all head to Brazil under the age of 24.

Cole, 33, announced his decision to retire from international competition on Sunday via Twitter, posting:

"I got the call from Roy [Hodgson] and agree England team should be about the young players. I think it best I retire from England team now. We have a great manager and team and I wish them only success. I will be supporting them like a true fan. Thanks to everyone for everything."

Cole made his debut for England in 2001 and represented his country in three World Cups, amassing 107 caps during his international career.

"Among many difficult decisions I've had to make for my squad, not selecting Ashley was one of the hardest," Hodgson told the FA's official website. "Ashley is a player I appreciate greatly. He is magnificent and what he has done for England is second to none."

In lieu of Cole, Hodgson named 18-year-old Southampton defender Shaw, who had an outstanding season with the Saints and will be making his first appearance at the World Cup.

"The emerging Shaw has had a wonderful season, capturing the headlines with his form and ability," Hodgson said. "Circumstances will prove whether it was the right decision to take the younger player."

Five Liverpool players have made the cut: captain Steven Gerrard, Henderson, Sterling, forward Daniel Sturridge and defender Glen Johnson, while fellow Merseyside club Everton will send Barkley, and defenders Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka.

Manchester United will be represented by forwards Wayne Rooney and Welbeck, and defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.

England's opener against Italy takes place in Manaus on June 14.

The full squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion), Fraser Forster (Celtic).

Defenders: Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Leighton Baines (Everton), Luke Shaw (Southampton).

Midfielders: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Manchester City), Ross Barkley (Everton).

Forwards: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United), Rickie Lambert (Southampton).

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