Hodgson aware of slim pickings

The Bolton News: Roy Hodgson concedes the number of English players playing in the Premier League is likely to dwindle Roy Hodgson concedes the number of English players playing in the Premier League is likely to dwindle

England head coach Roy Hodgson anticipates the shrinking pool of talent he can pick from will continue to get smaller - and expects no sympathy from club managers in terms of their selection policy.

Only 32% of the players who turned out in the nine Barclays Premier League fixtures immediately prior to the current international break were English qualified. The problem was highlighted ahead of tonight's World Cup qualifier with Ukraine at Wembley after Hodgson was forced to call in reinforcements after players withdrew through illness or injury.

Hodgson drafted in Spurs midfielder Jake Livermore and the uncapped Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling. The England boss is aware the percentage of players available for him is unlikely to improve. He said: "We can't deny that. Would I prefer to have a reverse of that statistic, with 68% of players being English? Of course I would."

The England boss added: "But that's not going to happen. The Premier League is fantastic. But it embraces all the top European players.

"One of the other facts we can't deny is the top clubs know where the best talent is, and often go out and buy it. That top talent, at a young age, finds it difficult to break into the team because of the established European talent in front of them."

Hodgson chooses to believes the players he is selecting are there on merit rather than because the cupboard is bare with 10 senior players absent for the Ukraine clash.

He said: "I'd like to think they're there because they have the talent to be there, even if the numbers of games they can boast is relatively small. Their timing of getting into our thoughts has corresponded when a lot of others who would have been selected have been absent.

"But opportunities often come along when others lose theirs for one reason or another.

"Those we invited for the Italy game, and others - (Ryan) Bertrand, (Kyle) Walker, (Daniel) Sturridge, (Danny) Welbeck, (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain - have created a good impression on myself and my staff, and the senior players."

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