LUTON, England (AP) — England coach Roy Hodgson selected a World Cup squad containing several young players on Monday, with Frank Lampard among the veterans to make the cut.
Lampard, who turns 36 next month, is the oldest player among the 23 that Hodgson is taking to Brazil, one of only six to have previously been to a World Cup.
“Frank is a very important part of our setup and you shouldn’t think about players in terms of age, but of position,” Hodgson said. “When you’re in midfield you have many more positions to choose from.
“Frank has been captain on many occasions and has been vice captain to Steven Gerrard. He still plays an important role for his club (Chelsea) and we think his leadership qualities and his abilities will help us in the summer.”
Eleven players have made 10 appearances or fewer for England, which opens its campaign in Brazil against Italy on June 14.
“Circumstances will prove whether the decision to take the younger player was right or not,” Hodgson said at the squad announcement at a car factory in Luton, north of London.
“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.”
The most inexperienced player is 18-year-old Southampton defender Luke Shaw, who displaced 33-year-old Ashley Cole from the squad despite only making his international debut in March. Shaw will be the understudy at left back to Leighton Baines.
“He has had a wonderful season ... and is capturing the headlines with his form and ability,” Hodgson said of Shaw.
Nineteen-year-old Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley, a 20-year-old Everton midfielder, are going to the World Cup despite having only five appearances between them.
“He’s a very, very exciting player, a very exciting talent and if he can continue at that level he has a very exciting future ahead of him,” Hodgson said of Barkley. “But I would hope people will temper their expectations of him.”
Hodgson has selected four strikers: Manchester United duo Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool and Rickie Lambert of Southampton. Lambert, who has scored two goals in four England appearances, has pushed Jermain Defoe, who moved to Toronto FC earlier this year, and Andy Carroll to the standby list.
“I’m sure if I’d picked a squad after the final qualifier in October it would have looked quite different, but a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then,” Hodgson said. “You can’t ignore what people are doing on a week-to-week basis and your decision is based on who is the best man for the job.”
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Fraser Forster (Celtic), Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion)
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (England), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Chris Smalling (Manchester United)
Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
Forwards: Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Daniel Welbeck (Manchester United)