Has Hodgson got the bottle to see England thrive at the World Cup?

Roy Hodgson Euro 2012 England

England manager Roy Hodgson has played it perfectly so far.

The Three Lions’ so called ‘Golden Generation’ has been torn apart, he stood firm when some wanted him to recall Chelsea defender John Terry from his international retirement, and his 23-man squad has a refreshing look about it ahead of the World Cup.

An international manager has always said that players are picked for international tournaments on form, but Hodgson has made good on the claim, and his team head for Brazil cautiously optimistic rather than worrying about the heavy hang of expectation.

The likes of Raheem Sterling, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Ross Barkley, Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge head to Brazil as relative novices, but all on the back on excellent seasons for their respective clubs.

The big ask for Hodgson now is for him to dive head first into the unknown in South America, and give the untried a chance to swim.

Does he have the bottle? He was certainly talking a good game ahead of England’s friendly with Peru on Friday evening, even suggesting Wayne Rooney may get the axe if he feels it is necessary.

He told reporters on Thursday: “I’d like to think that, as someone who has been a manager for a long time, I have the capacity to make the decisions that are necessary.

“And secondly, of course I don’t think Wayne Rooney’s past his best. I’ve selected him in a 23-man squad that I’m very proud of.”

So does Hodgson ditch the tired old formula of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, and leave the likes of James Milner out for some of the squad’s more exciting stars? Robbie Savage believes that old habits will die hard with the England boss.

"If Frank Lampard and James Milner start, I would not be surprised to see them in the side to face Italy in the World Cup opener on June 14 [against Italy],” Savage wrote in his column in The Mirror.

"My best guess is that Hodgson will play Lampard and Milner instead of Jordan Henderson and Sterling in a safety-first move to avoid defeat in England's first game."

The former West Brom, Fulham and Liverpool manager has won widespread plaudits for his bold selection, but Hodgson must now fully embrace the future, and with expectation at its most realistic for a generation, there is no time better than now.

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