Hodgson opens up England 'closed shop'
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) - Not so long ago, in the days of Sven-Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello, there were suggestions that the England football team represented a 'closed shop'.
In other words, if you didn't play for one of the Premier League's 'Big Four' clubs or weren't part of the famous 'golden generation' there was little point in waiting for a call-up. But as England prepare for a friendly against Sweden on Wednesday it is clear new manager Roy Hodgson is taking a very different attitude - and spreading his net as far as it will go.
His squad for the match in Stockholm includes the likes of Liverpool's Raheem Sterling, who is just 17, Wilfried Zaha of second-tier Championship leaders Crystal Palace, Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster, who plays in Scotland, and 31-year-old Leon Osman who plays for Everton - and has done so for the last decade without being noticed by a succession of England managers.
It's a selection policy Hodgson hopes will help him avoid falling into the same trap as his predecessors who stuck with exactly the same players and got exactly the same results in their fruitless quest to win England's first major trophy since a World Cup triumph on home soil back in 1966.