Premier League

England boss Roy Hodgson says opportunities remain for uncapped players like Grant Holt and Rickie Lambert to break into the team

Grant Holt: Pushing for an England call-up

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England boss Roy Hodgson says there are plenty of opportunities for uncapped players to break into the team.

Youth was high on the agenda for this week's friendly against Sweden, with strikers Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha in the squad.

However, Hodgson is keeping an open mind as he plots safe World Cup qualification for Brazil, whose team visit Wembley for February's friendly, ahead of the next competitive fixture in San Marino on 22 March.

"You understand that when you are a national team coach you have a job of picking 20 players for a squad and there are a lot of fans around the country who feel their team is disadvantaged because they do not have a representative," Hodgson said.

"That is not to say their representatives are not good enough. In the case of Norwich striker Grant Holt, of course there is no reason why a man like him with the abilities he has could not play for England.

"But the problem for me is there are a lot of other players who can play for England as well with maybe different characteristics. Sometimes you have to take all these things into account.

"It can also be a question of what particular time you are playing and who your competitors are.

"I have not made any strong judgements for or against players like Grant, or players of the same sort of ability as him.

"Rickie Lambert at Southampton is often mentioned, and he is a player who has had a similar career to Holt, done fantastically well to come through the lower leagues and prove themselves at every level.

"West Ham striker Andy Carroll of course is another player in that category and he has been in the England squad.

"The last time we played I went down a slightly different route, but that is not to say I will never go back to a route where I am looking for a player of Andy Carroll's stature, of Holt's stature, of Lambert's stature, and then these players will come very much once again into consideration."