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Lack of experience could hurt England in Brazil

Wilshere England

Roy Hodgson has been praised for including a raft of young players in England's World Cup squad, but could a lack of big-game experience prove costly?

England boss Roy Hodgson has shown faith in the raw talent that the likes of Ross Barkley, Luke Shaw and Raheem Sterling have exhibited for their clubs during the 2013-14 Premier League campaign by selecting them for his 23-man squad to take to Brazil.

Alongside this fresh-faced trio (who boast a mere six caps between them to date), the squad contains no fewer than seven other Under-25s, while only five players, including captain Steven Gerrard, are over 30 years of age.

This progressive selection policy is in stark contrast to that of former manager Fabio Capello, who took only four men under the age of 25 to South Africa in 2010.

But among all of the deserved praise and enthusiasm that is being showered on Hodgson's selection of a youthful squad, there is a risk of getting overly carried away.

Such a crop of fresh faces can be expected to play a fluid and exciting brand of football, but a lack of notable experience may ultimately prove crucial in high pressure moments. If there is an obvious English weakness for opponents to exploit, then it could well be this lack of big game nous. Unfortunately for England fans, the promise of youth and a ‘been there, done that’ know-how do not automatically go hand in hand.

Perhaps the inclusion of Frank Lampard, a decision that surprised some supporters, suggests that Hodgson understands the paucity of leadership that could hinder his young side in the pressurised atmosphere of a World Cup; the Chelsea midfielder’s appearance off the bench in tight situations could be hugely important.

Regardless of the outcome, England have taken a step forward with Hodgson’s bold selection. It may be a tournament too soon for the untried and untested talent that will be boarding the flight to Brazil in a few weeks, but the sight of the Three Lions playing with pace and energy will certainly spark a sense of positive things to come.

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