Fans and sports pundits had mixed feelings over England’s Euro 2016 squad, described as Hodgson’s young lions.
His choice of teenage wonder boy Marcus Rashford was described as a gamble, with many people unhappy that coach Roy Hodgson left out Leicester City hero Danny Drinkwater.
There was always going to be cheers and tears when Hodgson was required to whittle down his chosen 26 to a team of 23.
Footballing icon Gary Lineker, said on social media: “There is a tendency to focus on those left out and Drinkwater was unlucky. But Roy’s choice is what counts and it’s a bold young squad.”
Whether Hodgson’s choice has been a gamble will become apparent in Marseille on June 11 when his young lions take on Russia. He has chosen what is probably the youngest ever England squad.
Will those young lions be eaten alive in the bear pit that European football threatens? If Rashford, who Monday signed a 29,000 U.S.dollars a week 3-year contract with Manchester United, is the baby of the team, many of his team mates are not that much older.
Social media reaction to the team choice shows that Hodgson is either totally right, or totally wrong depending on your reading of football.
The fact that Hodgson has spent a long weekend before announcing his squad just hours before a UEFA deadline expired is an indication that he had been carefully working out the various options and permutations.
Hodgson was Tuesday night happy with his final selection.
In an interview posted on the UEFA Euro 2016 website, Hodgson admitted England didn’t have as many senior players in its team compared to four years ago.
“That puts extra responsibility on these young guys,” said Hodgson. “there is a lot of them and it will put pressure on them because they are young.
“Of course there won’t be the experience. You can’t be young and have played 10 games for England and be regarded as an experienced player.
“We believe there in their talent and if they keep doing what they do for their club teams at the moment in the Premier League, which is a high standard, they should be able to carry that through when they put an Engand shirt on.”
In 2012 England reached the quarter finals, beaten at that stage 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out against Italy.
The inexperienced England team carry a heavy weight on their shoulders, and the hope will be that the young lions will roar like wannabe champions as they take on their more experienced challengers.
England will play their final warm-up match against Portugal at Wembley on Thursday. Their draw in Group B including Wales, Russia and Slovakia has been relatively kind, particularly in comparison to the testing ties in 2012 (France, Sweden and hosts Ukraine) and 2014 (Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica). The standout tie is the “derby” with Wales but Hodgson’s side have more than enough to look comfortable beyond that.