England squads now reliant on top-flight benches, admits Roy

Ross McLean
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Roy Hodgson’s England face Norway tonight
ENGLAND boss Roy Hodgson believes the selection of players who predominantly feature as substitutes for their club is an inevitable consequence of the Premier League’s exponential growth.

The four uncapped players set to make their Three Lions debuts in tonight’s friendly with Norway at Wembley has been reduced to three with injury to Newcastle midfielder Jack Colback, although none are likely to start.

Players such as Tottenham’s Andros Townsend and Arsenal new boy Danny Welbeck are included in the squad despite limited game time this season – an unrelenting trend, according to Hodgson.

“I just have to accept and our nation has to accept that some of our players will be selected on benches, which was unthinkable five to 10 years ago but it’s the world we live in,” he said. “The standard in the Premier League means it is becoming a magnet for the best players in the world.”

The transfer window has seen a fresh influx of foreign talent although Hodgson is adamant the £163m splashed by Manchester United will directly benefit one homegrown talent in particular.

“The biggest bonus is for Danny Welbeck,” added Hodgson. “He is going to a club where he will hopefully get more playing time.”

While naming his first squad since the disastrous World Cup campaign Hodgson threw the captain’s armband to Wayne Rooney, with the Manchester United striker keen to forget the Brazil debacle.

He said: “We were expecting better in the summer but we have to move on, there is no point looking back.”