Hodgson planning January dinner

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Published: Monday 29th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Roy Hodgson has confirmed he and the England squad will have a get-together at the end of January to plan their campaign for 2015.

England are on course to qualify for Euro 2016 having won all four games in their qualifying group and are next in action on March 27 when they face Lithuania, before having a friendly against Italy.

Hodgson believes it is important to maintain the team spirit during the long gap by having an extra squad get-together.

The England manager told FATV: “I enjoy working with the team enormously and therefore when my time with them comes to an end I always miss the players, the training, the work on the field.

“But luckily we have all agreed we are going to get together at the end of January so we can at least have some chance to review the games we have played and to think a little bit about what’s going to be important for us going forward in 2015.

“We can have a dinner together at least and make certain we send the players back early to their clubs because unfortunately my time with them won’t begin again until March.”

Hodgson also paid tribute to Wayne Rooney’s influence since he has been appointed England captain, and the growing value of the younger players to the squad. Rooney, 29, now has 101 caps to his name and is closing in on Sir Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record of 49 – he is only three behind.

“Wayne had to step into big shoes and he has done that exceptionally well,” added Hodgson.

“He’s the only one with a large number of caps but luckily we have a guy like James Milner who is an unsung hero for me who has 51 caps and then people like Gary Cahill, Leighton Baines, Joe Hart and Phil Jagielka up in the 30s and 40s playing a bigger and bigger role.”

Hodgson said the days when he was having to pick players who were not even in their club first team look to be in the past with players such as Danny Welbeck having moved clubs and others becoming key members of their club sides.

He said: “Danny Welbeck of the young ones is one of the most experienced – we have always kept faith with Danny. Even from the first squad I selected for 2012 Danny was in it.

“Strangely in the last six months I have had to choose less and less of the younger players who don’t get a game in the starting line-up for their top teams.

“I would like to even hope some of their performances for England have accelerated their chances of being one of the first names on the team sheets for their clubs.”

Published: Monday 29th December 2014 by The News Editor

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