Hodgson backs kids

England manager Roy Hodgson is playing down the hype surrounding his squad’s brilliant youngsters as the World Cup in Brazil nears.

Everton’s Ross Barkley, 20, impressed in warm-up friendlies, while Hodgson labelled Liverpool teenager Raheem Sterling as “breathtaking” in training.

Hodgson said, “Let’s see good performance in an England shirt before we say they’re world-beaters.”

Hodgson said his squad has the potential to do well but added, “I must advise caution.” England’s first game is against Italy in Manaus on Saturday but from their training base in Urca, Hodgson did not want to raise expectations too high.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sterling and Barkley collectively have just 25 international caps between them but are expected to feature prominently in the tournament. Hodgson said, “As yet they have not had the chance to show in an England shirt that potential. We think it will be, but they have not had that chance yet.”

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