England boss Roy Hodgson revels in Poland selection headache

World Cup qualifier: Poland v England

  • Venue: The National Stadium, Warsaw
  • Date: Tuesday 16 October
  • Kick-off: 20:00 BST

Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live Sport from 19:00 BST & on BBC Sport website

England manager Roy Hodgson says impressive performances from his young players against San Marino has given him a welcome selection headache for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Poland.

The likes of Kyle Walker, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck all started in Friday's 5-0 win at Wembley.

"The players who came in against San Marino did so well," Hodgson said.

"There are a few selection decisions. That is good to have."

Frank Lampard is unavailable due to a knee injury, but Steven Gerrard returns from suspension.

Ashley Cole and Jermain Defoe, who were unused substitutes against San Marino, will also be pushing for starts.

While Hodgson is pleased with the quality of the younger players at his disposal, he hinted that key players are likely to return against Poland.

But he has urged any player who does make way for an experienced team-mate to keep on pushing for a permanent place in the side.

England's young guns

Five of the 11 England players who started against San Marino on Friday were aged 23 or under

"If the younger players want to take over then they'll have to play very well because some of the experienced players are still very keen to play football at this level for as long as possible," Hodgson added.

"They'll have to make certain they are better than the ones who have been doing the job.

"It is nice to know we are producing some players now who will challenge, will continue to improve, will mature with time and the matches they can play.

"Experience is important and we do have, at the moment, a good balance between youth and experience, but the key on Tuesday night is nothing more complicated than playing well."

Gerrard will return as captain on Tuesday after Wayne Rooney was given the armband against San Marino, and the Liverpool midfielder says he has no intention of relinquishing the role for some time yet.

"I am hoping [to be captain for a long while], I am really enjoying the role. I waited a long time for it to come so I want to enjoy it before I pass it over," he said.

Tuesday's clash in Warsaw will be the 99th time Gerrard has represented his country, and the 32-year-old says he enjoys playing for England as much now as he did on his debut.

"I am coming up to my 99th and I am loving it just as much as if it was my first," he added.

"I don't feel old and I am not getting bored of it. I am still looking forward to Tuesday's game as if it was my first. The youth that is breaking through means it is an exciting time to be an England player."