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England manager Roy Hodgson picks out positives from a 'mixed' year

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Roy Hodgson admits 2014 has been a 'mixed' year for England but believes the emergence of young stars bodes well for the future.

Roy Hodgson’s assessment of 2014 being a ‘mixed’ year for England is putting things mildly.

There were great expectations back in January, with a World Cup in Brazil capturing the imagination of a global sporting audience.

England headed to South America without the pressure which has accompanied previous tournament appearances, but supporters were still clinging to the belief that they could slip under the radar.

With Premier League stars aplenty within the ranks, more glorious failure in the knockout stages was expected.

To tumble out bottom of their group, with just one point taken from three games, was a massive disappointment for all concerned.

The fallout from a disastrous showing saw experienced stars such as Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole announce their international retirement, but their absence has paved the way for a new generation to come through.

Confidence is building again on the back of a faultless opening to Euro 2016 qualification and Hodgson believes there are positives to be taken from the last 12 months and optimism to be carried into 2015.

He told FATV: "It’s been a mixed year, obviously. We had great excitement, we had a World Cup to look forward to, and not just any World Cup but one that was going to be played in Brazil. When that didn't go well for us that tends to cloud one's views of the year.

"Fortunately, though, we've managed to redress the balance somewhat since the World Cup. The team has been even further renewed – I think the renewal process began at the start of the year really – but it's continued apace.

"We lost one or two senior players at the end of the World Cup for one reason or another. Not least the retirement of people like Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard – fantastic servants of the game and fantastic players for England over a long, long period of time.

"That forced us to look at what's available and many of them are the younger ones and they have repaid our faith in them during this autumn period."

England’s most recent squad included teenagers Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers, along with a number of players in their early 20s – such as Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley and Saido Berahino.

They are the ones expected to carry the baton forward, along with seasoned performers like Wayne Rooney – who has passed the 100-cap mark and is fast closing on Bobby Charlton’s record of 49 goals for his country.

Hodgson is right to suggest that the future looks bright, with it important for the Three Lions to forget about failings of the past and work towards righting a few wrongs when tournament football descends on France in a little under 18 months time.

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