Roy Hodgson had praise for Danny Ings, Dele Alli, Luke Shaw and Jack Grealish when unveiling his latest England squad on Thursday afternoon.
Alli and Ings were the two uncapped players named in Hodgson’s 24-man squad for the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifers against Estonia and Lithuania, but Daniel Sturridge has been left out after only recently returning from a long-term lay-off for Liverpool.
On Ings, Hodgson said: “Danny is someone we followed very closely at Burnley last year but didn’t have a chance to bring him in because of the Under-21s – we never felt we could rob them to have him with us – but now is a good opportunity to bring him in.
“Dele is, I suppose, the more offbeat one in the sense he’s so young and has only just broken into the Tottenham team, but we’re very impressed with what we’ve seen. It’s a good opportunity with so many midfielders away through injury. Who knows where he will end up? He’s a very exciting talent.”
As for Sturridge, Hodgson added: “We can survive without him and are hoping he comes to us in November super-fit, fully recovered and in great form.
“I think it’s a strong squad. The game in Lithuania is the one where, if any experimentation takes place, it’ll be there. It may damage our chances of getting the perfect 10 (wins) but I’m prepared to accept that.
“I won’t be sacrificing the game in any shape or form but I would argue the changes I make in Lithuania could make us stronger because certain players are confident.”
Hodgson also had kind words for injured Manchester United left-back Shaw, adding: “It’s a cruel blow for him. I think he knows how much we care about him. It’s heartbreaking and we feel for him.
“He’ll realise from the work he’s done with us and what the other staff have said to him that we had high hopes for him for 2016. We were punting on him being arguably the best left-back in the tournament.”