Roy Hodgson has thanked Tottenham for the emergence of Dele Alli and Eric Dier – and warned England’s injured stars their places are under threat.
England rounded off the calendar year with a 2-0 victory over European Championship hosts France at Wembley on Tuesday.
Without 16 regulars through injury, Hodgson was forced to pick a makeshift team with an average age of just 24 years and 113 days.
Players like Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson, Danny Welbeck, Leighton Baines and Daniel Sturridge were regulars in Hodgson’s team at the beginning of the year, but in their absence the likes of Alli, Dier and Jamie Vardy have acquitted themselves well at international level.
Hodgson will give his sidelined players a chance to impress in the new year when they return from the treatment room, but the England manager has warned that there is a limit to his loyalty to them.
“Loyalty is an important quality and one should never dismiss the value of loyalty from player to coach and coach to player, but it is a world in which unfortunately if you want to keep your place in the team you have to be playing to a very high level especially when other people are doing well around you,” Hodgson said.
“I would never be able to pick a team on loyalty alone. I would have to pick the best players at the time and against France Dele Alli and Eric Dier were really good.
“They are two players who maybe haven’t had a lot of publicity in terms of their chances up to now, but I think they are going to get a lot of publicity for their chances going forward.”
With Alli and Dier making their full international debuts, Hodgson invited Mauricio Pochettino to Tuesday’s friendly. Hodgson is a big fan of the Tottenham manager, who has put his faith in the young duo and also overseen the rise of Harry Kane.
“We are delighted that Tottenham have gone down this route and Pochettino in particular of giving players he thinks have quality a chance,” he said.
England to play up to six more friendlies
England’s post-World Cup record now reads: played 16, won 13, drawn two and lost one.
The problem Hodgson now has is trying to maintain the momentum he has built. England do not play until March and for that reason he wants to spend an afternoon with his players to keep the team spirit generated because of this good run intact.
Last year Premier League clubs vetoed Hodgson’s proposal for the players to meet up for a winter social, but he is hopeful of organising a similar get together over the next three months.
“(FA chief executive) Martin Glenn has had a meeting with the people at the Premier League but it was more the executives,” Hodgson said when asked about the winter get together.
“But I would like an afternoon or early evening with the players for two or three hours just so we can go through a little bit of what we have done in the Spain game and the France game and see what we want to do going forward.
“I am hoping that the clubs will go along with that. To be honest there wasn’t an enormous amount of opposition to it last time around. I guess with any luck we will get that afternoon but it will have to be discussed with the clubs to make sure they think it is an afternoon that is right for them because I and (assistant) Ray Lewington are full timers and can go any time it suits them.”
England will continue their high-profile build-up to the Euros by taking on Germany in Berlin and hosting Holland next March.
With so many injured players coming back into contention next year, Hodgson will organise up to another four friendlies in the immediate build up to the tournament.
“We are hoping to have at least three warm up games, possibly four, in addition to the two in March so we will have games,” he said.