UK & World News
England Squad: Hodgson Backs Youth For Brazil
Roy Hodgson put his faith in England's young generation of stars as he named his 23-man squad for the World Cup in Brazil.
Teenagers Raheem Sterling and Luke Shaw are among those going to the tournament, while more experienced stars including Ashley Cole and Michael Carrick have missed out.
Announcing details of the squad in Luton, Hodgson said he had given the selection a lot of thought and hoped the squad "won't let the country down" in Brazil.
Frank Lampard, who will turn 36 during the tournament, will be the elder statesman of the squad and the manager said the Chelsea man's "leadership qualities" meant he "fully deserved" his place.
Hodgson said he would have picked a different squad at the end of the qualifying campaign last October but it had been "impossible to ignore" the performances of youngsters Sterling at Liverpool, Shaw at Southampton and Ross Barkley at Everton.
He confirmed another teenager, Everton's John Stones, will be brought into the squad if Manchester United defender Phil Jones fails to recover from a shoulder injury.
He defended his decision to back youth over experience, saying: "You get experience by getting the opportunity.
"It's wrong to focus totally on the fact there are those who are inexperienced because everyone is inexperienced until they get the chance to do the job.
"I think they've played so well and been so effective in their club teams that they've really imposed their ability on my thinking."
Ashley Cole was the most high-profile omission and Hodgson paid tribute to the Chelsea defender, who announced his international retirement after learning he was not on the plane.
He said: "I have been unbelievably impressed by the maturity and graciousness that Ashley Cole has shown."
Hodgson insisted that his side would be contenders at the tournament, where the favourites will include hosts Brazil, Spain and Germany.
He said: "Of course I believe the squad can win the World Cup, otherwise what's the point in taking it?
"If we are going to win it we will have to play very well, prepare very well and this talented group of players have to show their talent."
Seven players are on standby, in case of injuries to the chosen 23.
They are goalkeeper John Ruddy, defenders John Stones and Jon Flanagan, midfielders Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley and strikers Andy Carroll and Jermaine Defoe.
The bold-looking selection was welcomed by many pundits.
Match of the Day host Gary Lineker wrote on Twitter: "Congratulations to the 23 players who have made Roy Hodgson's England squad. It's young, energetic and exciting. Do your country proud!"
Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown questioned the inclusion of recently injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere, as well as the decision to leave Ashley Cole at home.
He said: "Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been out injured for a good deal of time. That's probably a gamble, Jack Wilshere as well.
"I was a little bit surprised Roy Hodgson didn't go with Ashley Cole for what is a major tournament."