Hodgson - Age not an issue

Fitness of midfield duo not a specific concern for England manager

Roy Hodgson is not concerned by the fitness of midfield duo Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard

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England boss Roy Hodgson insists he is not worrying about his central midfield pairing Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker tiring at Euro 2012.

It is an area of the field that has been significantly depleted due to injuries to key trio Jack Wilshere, Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard.

That leaves a huge onus on two men, both the wrong side of 30, to play in every game.

"These players will be wanting to play all the games and they'll be working very hard as they've done after this France game to make certain they recover and are ready to go again."

Roy Hodgson

Quotes of the week

Gerrard has had his issues with injuries while Parker had to be withdrawn late on against France suffering from cramp.

But Hodgson believes the risk of his midfield duo running out of steam can be overstated.

"Scott's 31 and Steven 32, we're not talking about old players," said Hodgson.

"Certainly Sweden have players considerably older than our team and I think I heard that we are the third youngest squad in the tournament.

Heat

"Age doesn't bother me, obviously when you go into the third game you are going to be concerned for all your players, not just Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker.

"You're going to be concerned for them all whatever age they are because three games played in Ukraine in heat takes it out of everybody.

"But we have the players I think in the squad to step up to the plate and I'm pretty sure that first of all these players will be wanting to play all the games and they'll be working very hard as they've done after this France game to make certain they recover and are ready to go again."

England take on Sweden on Friday as they look to build on their 1-1 opening draw with the French.

And Hodgson does not see him making big chances to the side for their second Group D clash.

He added: "As yet we haven't actually picked the team of course and I am certainly not prepared to say at this stage whether there will be changes or no changes.

"But there won't be wholesale changes, that's for certain because we don't have any injury problems and the players who did well against France are all hoping to get picked to play again."

Rooney return

One man who will not feature is Wayne Rooney, with the striker serving the final match of his suspension for his red card in a qualifying game against Montenegro last year.

"He's a world class player and there's no doubt that when we get him on the field we'll be a much stronger and more potent attacking force than we are when he's not playing."

Roy Hodgson on Wayne Rooney

Quotes of the week

He will be available again for the final group game against co-hosts Ukraine and Hodgson knows his return will greatly improve the England attack.

"We've missed him, there's no question of that," he said.

"When you talk about Sweden you talk a lot about (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic and how important he is for them and how he can decide a game, how his individual ability and the fact he is a world class player can make an enormous difference, especially to a team which is well organised and hard-working like the Swedish team is.

"We've got one of them in our squad as well. His name is Wayne Rooney and he's a world class player and there's no doubt that when we get him on the field we'll be a much stronger and more potent attacking force than we are when he's not playing.

"But his training's been excellent and his attitude around the place has also been excellent. He's been very, very supportive of the young players so he just needs now to hang on for another couple of days.

"He needs to keep helping us out in the way that he's been doing so because his chance will come soon and he's desperate of course that we go far in the tournament because he wants to play more than one game."